Pedro Martínez : biography
Yankee Stadium 1-hitter
Martínez again came close to the feat on September 10, 1999, when he beat the New York Yankees 3–1. He faced just 28 batters while striking out 17 and walking none (Martínez hit the game’s first batter, Chuck Knoblauch, but he was then caught stealing). Only a solo home run by Chili Davis separated Martínez from a no-hitter. The Davis home run came in the second inning, eliminating any suspense, but this may have been Martínez’s most dominant day on the mound. Sportswriter Thomas Boswell called it the best game ever pitched at Yankee Stadium.
Another close call
On August 29, 2000, Martínez took a no-hitter into the 9th against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, losing it on a leadoff single by John Flaherty. Martínez had begun the night by hitting the leadoff batter, Gerald Williams, in the hand. Williams started towards first base before charging the mound and knocking down Martínez; in the scrum, Williams was tackled by Boston catcher Jason Varitek. Martínez then retired the next 24 hitters in a row until allowing Flaherty’s single, and finished with a one-hitter. He had 13 strikeouts and no walks in the game; the Flaherty single would have broken up a perfect game, if not for the leadoff hit batsman. Pedro Martínez never threw an official no-hitter. He has professed a lack of interest in the matter: "I think my career is more interesting than one game."
All-Star strikeout streak
Martínez was selected as the starting pitcher for the American League All-Star team in 1999. The game, on July 11, 1999, was at Fenway Park, Martínez’s home field. Martínez struck out Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, and Sammy Sosa consecutively in the first inning. He then struck out Mark McGwire leading off the 2nd, becoming the first pitcher to begin an All-Star game by striking out the first four batters. (The National League’s Brad Penny matched the feat in 2006.) The next batter, Matt Williams, managed to reach first base from an error by Roberto Alomar. Martinez then proceeded to strike out Jeff Bagwell while Williams was caught stealing.
On October 11, 1999, Martínez threw six hitless innings in relief to win the final game of the ALDS, a performance detailed above.
Faceoff vs. Roger Clemens on ESPN
On May 28, 2000, Martínez and Roger Clemens had a dramatic duel on ESPN’s "Sunday Night Baseball" telecast. Both pitchers shone, combining to allow only 9 hits and 1 walk while striking out 22. A 0-0 game was finally broken up in the 9th inning by Trot Nixon’s home run off Clemens. In the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees loaded the bases against a tiring Martínez, but New York could not score, as Martínez completed the shutout.
Martinez vs. Zimmer
In the testy Game 3 of the ALCS, after allowing single runs in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th innings, Martínez hit Yankees right fielder Karim Garcia near the shoulders with a pitch, sparking a shouting match between Martínez and the New York bench. Directing his attention at Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, Martínez jabbed a finger into the side of his own head, which some, including an enraged Yankee bench coach Don Zimmer, interpreted as a threatened beanball. Emotions remained high in the bottom of the inning, which was led off by Boston slugger Manny Ramírez. Ramirez became irate over a high strike from Roger Clemens, and both benches cleared. During the ensuing commotion, the 72-year-old Zimmer ran towards Martínez in an attempt to knock him down; Martínez sidestepped Zimmer and threw him to the ground. Later, Martínez claimed that he was not indicating that he would hit Posada in the head, but that he would remember what Posada was saying to him.
Grady Little’s visit
Martínez was also on the mound for Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS versus the Yankees. With the Red Sox ahead 5–2 at the start of the 8th inning, a tiring Martínez pitched his way into trouble. He was visited on the mound by manager Grady Little, but was left in to pitch, in a controversial non-move. The Yankees tied the score against Martínez in that inning on four successive hits, leading to a dramatic extra-inning, series-ending victory for New York.
World Series debut
After a comparatively lackluster season in 2004 (though still a solid season by general standards), Pedro Martínez got the win in Game 3 of the World Series. He shut out the St. Louis Cardinals through seven innings, recording his final 14 outs consecutively in what would turn out to be his last game for Boston.
With the Mets, on April 10, 2005, at Turner Field, Martínez outdueled John Smoltz, pitching a two-hit, one-run, complete game en route to his first Mets victory. On August 14, 2005, against the Dodgers, he pitched 7 1/3 hitless innings, but ended up losing the no-hitter and the game.
Return to Fenway
In June 2006, the Mets played an interleague series against the Red Sox, which was Martínez’s first appearance at Fenway Park since leaving the team. The Red Sox gave their former ace a two minute video tribute on June 27, but showed no courtesies to Martínez the following night. In his June 28, 2006 start, Martínez lasted only 3 innings, and was rocked for 8 runs (6 earned) on 7 hits, losing his worst game as a Met just before going onto the disabled list. It was Martínez’s only career appearance against the Red Sox, the only Major League team against which he did not record a victory.