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Pedro's relief appearance against the Indians was extraordinary considering the circumstances
As with Lackey’s outing before and Schilling's to follow, Martinez’ performance is rated this highly as much for the context of the game as it is for the performance itself.
The Red Sox lost each of the first two games of the best-of-five ALDS in Cleveland before winning both games in Boston, including a 23-7 whitewashing of the Indians in Game Four. Now, the teams were back in Cleveland for the deciding game. The starting pitchers in the contest were Bret Saberhagen (BOS) and Charles Nagy (CLE). The pair had squared off in Game Two of the series, which was won by Nagy and the Indians, 11-1.
Nagy was a longtime nemesis of the Red Sox…and due to the fact Saberhagen had been roughed up in Game Two it was understood Manager Jimy Williams would have him on a short leash. Williams would have to use yank on the leash quickly as Saberhagen was hit early and often—yielding five earned runs in one-inning-plus. He was relieved by Derek Lowe, who wasn’t much better—surrendering three runs of his own in the third inning before being pulled in favor of Martinez.
Meanwhile, Nagy was proving to be no mystery to the Red Sox hitters. The Red Sox scored a pair of runs in the first inning and then five more runs in the third inning to take a 7-5 lead. After Lowe surrendered the lead in the bottom of the third, the offense again responded with a run off Nagy in the fourth inning.
The offensive explosion that commenced in Game Four had continued into Game Five.
Hoping to prolong the Red Sox season, Williams turned to Martinez to quiet the Indians offense. Pedro had started Game One of the series and pitched very well, but had to leave the game after four innings due to a back injury. He had not pitched again in the series.
Pedro pitched six innings of no-hit ball, notching the win in relief. He allowed three walks, two of which were of the unintentionally intentional variety (pitching around the ever-dangerous Manny Ramirez and Roberto Alomar while the game was still deadlocked at 8-8).
OF Troy O’Leary was the other hero of the day for the Red Sox. He hit a grand slam in the third inning to give the club a short-lived lead. He then launched his second home run of the contest—a 3-run homer—in the top of the seventh inning to put the visitors ahead for good.
At that point, the game was essentially over. Martinez’ year-long dominance of the American League continued over the last three innings, as the Indians failed to get the ball out of the infield.
Martinez would then record the team’s only win in the ALCS (Performance No. 5 on this list), capping an extraordinary season in which he would win the AL Cy Young Award and finish second in the MVP voting (when two voters inexplicably left him off their MVP ballots all together). In a season that was arguably the greatest campaign any pitcher has ever put together, the ALDS and ALCS outings were his crowing achievement.
Final line: 6 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 3 BB, 8 K