Martinez leads Phils to doubleheader sweep
With the way the Phillies bullpen has been struggling, not a chance.
Martinez escaped the eighth-inning threat and looked again like a free-agent bargain, leading Philadelphia to a 1-0 win over the New York Mets and a doubleheader sweep on Sunday night.
“If I’m healthy, I feel like I’m able to do anything anybody does,” Martinez said.
Healthy and happy, the three-time Cy Young award winner is having fun on the mound just like in his glory years.
Martinez (5-0) tossed six-hit ball, struck out seven and threw 130 pitches in eight shutout innings. He retired 10 straight at one point and the NL East-leading Phillies are now 7-0 when he starts.
Martinez showed he still had something left in the eighth inning as he neared 130 pitches.
The 32nd straight sellout crowd chanted “Let’s Go Pedro!” and wildly cheered every strike from the 37-year-old right-hander. Manuel visited with Martinez after he gave up a two-out double to Daniel Murphy(notes).
The fans roared when Manuel jogged back to the dugout with Martinez still on the mound.
“I was keeping him in anyway,” Manuel said. “I had to see what he was going to say.”
Martinez caught a huge break when a changeup in the dirt scooted away from Carlos Ruiz(notes). Murphy dashed toward third, but Ruiz recovered and threw him out to end the inning—Martinez pumping his fist as he ran off the field.
“I convinced Charlie to give me one more out,” Martinez said.
His 130 pitches are the most for Martinez since Oct. 1, 2003, in the division series for Boston vs. Oakland.
Martinez could be 7-0 if he didn’t run into some bad luck with rain and have two starts cut short. He’s pitched at least six innings in each of his last three starts, allowing just four runs. Martinez has a 6-2 career postseason record and would be a good fit in the Phillies rotation if they win their third straight NL East title.
They won the last two because the Mets collapsed in September each time. New York has been out of playoff contention for months, but this loss mathematically eliminated the Mets.
“I have to tell you, I’m sorry for them,” Martinez said.
Martinez, who played the last four years with the Mets, signed in July for a prorated share of $2 million plus incentives.
“When he is on, he has instincts that makes him a tough pitcher any time,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said.
The Phillies fans weren’t done showing him some appreciation once the game ended. Fans rushed the dugout and filled up five or six rows, chanting “Pedro! Pedro! Pedro!” as he did his postgame interview.
The Phillies scored the only run in the first when Jimmy Rollins(notes) walked, Shane Victorino(notes) singled and Utley followed with a long single off the left-field wall. They didn’t get a hit off Redding after the second inning.
“You have to tip your hat to the Hall of Famer on the other side of the mound,” Redding said. “It was a great game both ways.”
The Mets left the bases loaded against Martinez in the second and it cost them as they lost for the sixth time in seven games.
Lidge, temporarily demoted from his Phillies closer role this week, gave up two runs in the ninth but finished for his 29th save in 39 opportunities.
New York right-hander John Maine(notes) (5-5) made his first start since June 6. Out with a sore shoulder, Maine was one of several key players who missed a large chunk of the season, ruining the Mets chances of competing with the Phillies for the NL East crown.
Stoner gave up Victorino’s first home run since Aug. 12, a two-run shot in the fifth, and put the Phillies up 4-0. Francisco had homered in the fourth.
NOTES: Mets LF Fernando Tatis(notes) left Game 2 because of a sprained left index finger. He struck out in his only at-bat. … Phillies RHP Clay Condrey(notes) (left oblique strain) is scheduled to continue his rehab assignment Monday with Class A Lakewood. He allowed two runs on two hits in one inning for Double-A Reading on Saturday.