No surprise there. It’s what he’s done his entire career. And this time, he also had a promise to keep.
Pitching in a major league game for the first time since last September, Martinez mixed it up, changed speeds and lasted five innings to get the victory for his new team, the Philadelphia Phillies, in a 12-5 rout of the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night.
“It was really fun to actually get back to the game. Last year was a horrible year. It was a very tough year,” Martinez said of his final injury-slowed season with the New York Mets. “I actually feel good and it shows.”
Before his father died in July 2008, Martinez made a promise to him. He kept it Wednesday night.
“I promised my dad I would come back and play baseball like he asked me, his last word. Making it back feels like I just took something off my shoulders,” he said.
“The fact that I got a win or whatever is very good, but to actually be able to make it back like I promised my dad I would do, it was probably my best gift. That’s for him. This one’s for him.”
The Philadelphia Phillies gave their 37-year-old newcomer plenty of support. Shane Victorino(notes), Jimmy Rollins(notes) and Raul Ibanez(notes) homered as the World Series champs sent Chicago to its fourth straight loss.
Martinez (1-0), a three-time Cy Young Award winner, allowed seven hits and three runs with a walk and five strikeouts, throwing 99 pitches with several clocked in the low 90s.
“He knows how to pitch. He threw with a little more velocity than I thought he would,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.
Martinez’s 215th career win was his first since last Aug. 31, against Florida while with the Mets. He signed with the NL East leaders on July 15 after pitching in the World Baseball Classic this spring.
“Getting a little bit excited was making me rush a little bit to throw pitches, but as far as health and stamina, everything went perfectly fine. I felt fine,” Martinez said.
“I just have to improve myself. I have to do a little bit better for them. Hopefully get that bullpen a little more rest.”
With the Phillies ahead 12-1, Chicago loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth and Milton Bradley(notes) hit an RBI single. Jake Fox(notes) hit a sacrifice fly to center on a ball Victorino caught as he was being doused by what was apparently a beer thrown out of the bleachers.
Victorino didn’t want to talk about the incident.
“That shouldn’t happen,” Piniella said. “It’s not good sportsmanship. … We apologize to Victorino and the Phillies for that.”
Martinez, who is guaranteed $2 million, made three minor league rehab assignments while recovering from a strained shoulder.
Martinez made 20 starts for the Mets last season and missed two months while on the disabled list with a hamstring injury.
“He definitely has enough stuff and knowledge to pitch. It’s a matter of how good he can get and how far we can go,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija(notes) (1-2), the career receptions leader at Notre Dame (179) as a football player, got roughed up in his first major league start after 42 relief appearances the last two seasons.
“I was pretty jacked going into the first inning. After the first hit, I should have taken a deep breath,” Samardzija said. “I was excited.”
Victorino’s ninth homer followed a leadoff double by Rollins in the third and made it 4-1. Singles by Jayson Werth(notes), Pedro Feliz(notes) and Carlos Ruiz(notes) expanded the lead to four in the fourth and out later Samardzija was finished.
Rollins hit Marshall’s first pitch for his 15th homer and an 8-1 lead. Ibanez’s three-run shot upped it to 11-1.
Samardzija allowed eight hits and seven runs in his 3 1-3 innings.
NOTES: It was the first time Martinez started a game at Wrigley Field since June 8, 1996, when he was with Montreal. He is 5-3 against the Cubs in his career and 3-2 at Wrigley … The Cubs have lost six of seven. … Phillies RHP Brett Myers(notes) threw two simulated innings with no problems in a workout at Clearwater, Fla. Myers, who had hip surgery on June 4, threw 32 pitches. He said he hopes to pitch in a rehab game soon.