Red Sox 5, Indians 2

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CLEVELAND (AP)—Pedro Martinez didn’t complain, criticize or condemn a thing.

After a stormy week, Martinez just pitched—in a place where he has always been perfect.

Boston’s ace dominated Cleveland again, settling in after a shaky start to toss seven strong innings and lead the Red Sox to a 5-2 win over the Indians on Thursday night.

Martinez (4-2) gave up four hits—three in the first inning—and improved to 11-1 in 15 career starts against the Indians. He’s also 6-0 at Jacobs Field.

“I just think I got lucky today,” Martinez said with a smile shortly after telling a club spokesman he wasn’t going to speak with reporters.

Martinez made his second appearance since publicly criticizing Boston’s front office, cutting off contract talks with the Red Sox and declaring he would explore free agency after the season.

The next day, he was hammered for six runs and nine hits in four innings during a loss to Texas. This one didn’t start much better for the three-time Cy Young Award winner, who quickly fell behind 2-0 in the first.

But the Indians did little after that, putting only five runners on base with just one getting to third. Martinez walked three and struck out eight.

“Came back?” Boston manager Terry Francona snorted after being asked about Martinez’s recovery. “He just looked like he said, ‘You’re going to have to hit it,’ and they didn’t. After the first three hitters, he was in control.”

With his 105th victory for Boston, Martinez moved into a tie with Lefty Grove for eighth place on the club’s career wins list.

“I think all my pitches were there,” he said. “It was just a matter of getting in a groove.”

Manny Ramirez homered in the sixth off C.C. Sabathia (1-1) and Pokey Reese hit a go-ahead RBI double in the seventh as the Red Sox won their second straight to split the four-game series.

Kevin Millar had four hits for Boston, going home after a 2-5 trip to Texas and Cleveland.

“There will be some air to breathe on the plane,” Francona said.

Alan Embree pitched the eighth and Keith Foulke threw a perfect ninth for his sixth save in six chances.

Sabathia allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings. The left-hander didn’t walk or strike out a batter, but disgustedly tossed his glove and cap in the dugout after being pulled.

“I’m the No. 1 starter, that’s what I am here for, to win these games and that’s what I gotta do,” said Sabathia, who was disappointed he let down fans who came to see him duel with Martinez. “I want to give everyone who came tonight my apology. This was a big game.”

Martinez arrived in Boston’s clubhouse about 2 1/2 hours before the first pitch, and immediately began joking with Ramirez.

“The baby is ready today,” Ramirez said as he patted Martinez, who smiled from behind a pair of sunglasses. “There is no cold weather, so he is good.”

Martinez wasn’t so good early on.

Matt Lawton unloaded on the right-hander’s first pitch, driving his sixth homer over the wall in straightaway center and denting a camera perched on the railing.

“That doesn’t happen very often,” Martinez said. “You’ve got to give him credit.”

Omar Vizquel followed with a single and went to third on Jody Gerut’s base hit. Victor Martinez’s RBI groundout made it 2-0, but Martinez got out of the inning when Travis Hafner lined out and Gerut got doubled up at second.

Martinez dominated until leaving after the seventh.

“Pedro was Pedro,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “When a guy pitches the way he did, you have to hope for a mistake, but he didn’t make too many.”

Down 2-0, the Red Sox rallied with two runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh.

Reese’s double capped an eight-pitch at-bat in which he fouled off two pitches with two strikes from Sabathia, who left a game trailing for the first time in five starts this season.

Rick White came in and gave up a run-scoring double to Mark Bellhorn, putting Boston up 4-2.

Ramirez drove in another run with a single in the eighth.

He had tied it 2-2 in the sixth with his seventh homer, poking an outside pitch over the wall in right. Ramirez is 6-for-9 with three RBIs in his career against Sabathia.

“It’s unbelievable that he can do that,” Sabathia said. “That is justsick. It wasn’t a strike and he served it out there like that.”


Martinez has already allowed six homers in 43 2-3 innings this season, after giving up only seven in 186 2-3 innings last season. … Ramirez is now tied with Lee May for 64th on the career homer list with 354. … Lawton has led off the first with a homer six times in his career. … Cleveland has hit 24 homers—19 have been solo shots. … The Sabathia-Martinez matchup drew26,825, the second-largest crowd at the Jake this season.

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