SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Giants rookie pitcher Joe Martinez was two strikes away from walking off the mound after a solid first series in the major leagues.
That all changed once Mike Cameron rocketed a ball right back at him.
Martinez was hit in the head by Cameron’s line drive, knocked to his knees and bloodied Thursday in San Francisco’s 7-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.
Martinez made it off the field under his own power, then was taken to a hospital for a CT scan and evaluation. His forehead was cut and his right eye was swollen.
“He was bleeding quite a bit,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “That ball was smoked. He didn’t have a chance.”
Martinez made his big league debut Tuesday and was the winning pitcher on opening day.
The 26-year-old reliever was struck near the right temple by Cameron’s two-out liner, and the ball caromed off the field into foul territory near the Brewers’ first-base dugout. Martinez dropped to his knees, and players on both sides winced at the frightening scene.
Team trainers rushed to Martinez’s aid. After a few minutes, he was able to walk away with a cloth held to his nose.
“It looked like it hit him solid, I don’t think it touched his glove at all,” winning pitcher Matt Cain said. “It’s really tough to see and witness firsthand. All of us are definitely feeling it.”
Cameron, who was credited with a double, was beside himself. He grimaced, looked away and slowed while running to first base.
Cameron knelt at second base with his head in his hands while Martinez was being treated. Cameron stayed down even after Martinez left, and San Francisco players came up to console the Brewers veteran.
“You just hope that the young man is all right, that everything is good and that he’s safe first and foremost,” a shaken Cameron said afterward. “I just hope that he gets a chance to go back on the field again. I couldn’t stop shaking. It’s kind of a helpless feeling. I was just trying to pray for him because I know how dangerous that can be.”
Cameron is no stranger to such a bloody play. He was involved in a head-to-head collision with fellow Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran while chasing a ball in August 2005, leaving Cameron with two broken cheekbones, a broken nose and a concussion. Cameron missed the rest of that season.
Brandon Medders came in to get the final out for San Francisco but afterward the Giants’ clubhouse was silent and solemn.
“It’s always a scary moment, it makes you sick when that happens,” Bochy said. “With one out left in the game, that’s what makes you even sicker about what happened. Where it hit him, hopefully he’s going to be fine.”
The play resonated in Milwaukee’s clubhouse as well. Several players questioned reporters about Martinez’s health after the game while others watched a television to see replays.
“It’s unbelievably scary because that can happen to any pitcher,” Brewers starter Manny Parra said. “Balls are going by your head every game. It’s extremely unfortunate and something you don’t ever want to see.”
Cain (1-0) allowed one run and four hits in seven innings. It’s the first time in his five-year major league career that he’s won his first start of the season.
Bengie Molina drove in four runs with a pair of hits as the Giants took two of three in the season-opening series. Fred Lewis had three hits and scored twice while Randy Winn had two hits and scored two runs.
Cain dominated Milwaukee’s lineup, a good sign for San Francisco after reigning NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum struggled in the Giants’ opening day win and Randy Johnson gave up two home runs in a 4-2 loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday.
“Everything was going good,” Cain said. “We were getting ahead of them and we were trying to keep them off balance. I was trying to get those guys to swing early. We know they’re going to be aggressive and it worked out well.”
Cain, who didn’t get his first victory of 2008 until his sixth start on April 28, sailed through the first six innings while allowing just one runner past second base. The 24-year-old righty, who went 15-30 over the last two seasons after winning 13 games for the Giants in 2006, struck out Ryan Braun twice and held Brewers slugger Prince Fielder hitless in three at-bats.
It helped that San Francisco gave Cain plenty of run support. Since the start of the 2007, the Giants have scored one run or less in 29 of Cain’s 66 starts. In 2008, he had the lowest run support (3.14) of all NL starters.
After getting off to a slow start against Parra (0-1), San Francisco broke open the game with two runs in the fourth, three in the fifth and two in the seventh.
Parra, a 10-game winner who beat the Giants twice in 2008, left after 4 1-3 innings.
“His first three innings were pretty good, then he walks the pitcher, we don’t get any help from the defense, then he walks Freddy,” Milwaukee manager Ken Macha said. “At that point I couldn’t trust him to make a pitch.”
A moment of silence was held before the game in honor of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, who was killed in car accident Thursday. … Giants LHP Barry Zito (10-17 in 2008) makes his first start of the season Friday in San Diego when San Francisco begins a six-game road trip.