Martinez struck out 11 in a 7-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers—his 69th double-digit strikeout game with Boston, breaking the mark he shared with Clemens.
“Any time you can put your name up there with Roger, it is great,” he said. “But I wasn’t even aware of that—I was just trying to pick the team up and help us get things going again.”
Martinez (12-4) allowed two runs—one earned—and five singles in seven innings, helping the Red Sox end a two-game losing streak. Boston trails Texas by one game in the AL wild-card race.
“It looked to me, especially early on, like he had every pitch working tonight,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “He was still throwing easy in the seventh and he still had bite on his changeup.”
Martinez struck out the first five he faced, and seven through three innings. He improved to 5-0 in nine career starts against Detroit.
“Pedro is Pedro,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “He’s not throwing 95 consistently any more, but it doesn’t really matter. That young man just knows how to pitch.”
Jeremy Bonderman (6-9) dropped to 0-3 in his last five starts, allowing three runs on four hits in five innings. The loss was Detroit’s fifth in six games.
“I was a little wild early—I think I had too much energy,” said Bonderman, who pitched just three innings in his last two starts combined. “After about the third inning, I felt pretty good. I’m just frustrated that I didn’t have any control early.”
In the first, David Ortiz gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead with a run-scoring groundout in his first at-bat since serving a five-game suspension.
Ortiz was suspended for throwing bats onto the field after he was ejected from a game July 16 at Anaheim. He initially lodged an appeal, but dropped it on Aug. 1.
Dave Roberts had an RBI double in the second, his first hit since joining the Red Sox on July 31, then added a sacrifice fly in the fourth to make it 3-0.
“I’m just happy to be contributing,” Roberts said. “We aren’t playing great ball right now, but to get a performance like that from Pedro is a great lift. It’s nice to be on his side when he’s pitching like that.”
Martinez struck out two more in the fourth, but allowed an unearned run. With one out, Carlos Guillen hit an infield single and took second when second baseman Bill Mueller’s throw sailed into the dugout. Dmitri Young followed with an RBI single.
“Pedro’s one of the best in baseball—that’s no surprise,” Guillen said. “He was throwing four or five pitches for strikes, but we had some chances against him. We just didn’t get the big hit.”
Boston put the game away with four runs in the seventh.
With one out, Roberts and Johnny Damon walked. Al Levine replaced John Ennis, but allowed RBI singles to Kevin Youkilis and Kevin Millar. Jamie Walker then gave up a run-scoring single to Ortiz. Another run scored while Ortiz was caught in a rundown between first and second.
Young made it 7-3 with a run-scoring groundout off Mike Timlin in the eighth.
Manny Ramirez was a late scratch from Boston’s lineup with flulike symptoms. He was replaced by Millar, and will be reevaluated Sunday morning. … C Ivan Rodriguez, a career .133 hitter against Martinez, got the night off for Detroit. … Smoky Joe Wood is third on Boston’s career list with 18 double-digit strikeout games. … Martinez struck out nine of the first 14 batters, but needed 12 batters to get Munson for his 10th. He then struck out the next batter for his 11th. … The game drew 42,607 fans, the second-largest crowd in Comerica Park’s five-year history. The record is 44,095, set when Clemens went for his 300th win on June 1, 2003. … The Tigers activated OF Craig Monroe (hamstring) from the DL before the game.