Pedro Martinez pitched five strong innings in his best outing of the spring as the Boston Red Sox beat the Detroit Tigers, 5-3, yesterday in Fort Myers, Fla.

Martinez allowed one run in the first inning, then settled down and retired 13 of his last 14 batters. He gave up three hits, struck out five and walked none.

"Everything seemed to be working," said Martinez, who won for the first time this spring. "I had a good change-up and good control of the breaking ball. I threw it against some of the young guys there who couldn't quite read it, so that gave me a little bit of an advantage."

Despite a 1-2 record, Martinez said he feels extremely strong compared to recent springs.

"I could tell from the first day I threw on the side that my arm had some more strength and flexibility," he said. "Compared to last year, I didn't know where to stand and I didn't feel comfortable on the mound at all. This year has been different."

* CARDINALS: Closer Jason Isringhausen might start the season on the disabled list. Isringhausen, who had surgery during the offseason to repair a frayed labrum, felt stiffness in his right shoulder Wednesday, a day before he was to appear in his first game.

* MARINERS: Reliever Norm Charlton, 40, was released and offered a job in the player development department. Charlton had surgery Monday in Seattle to repair a torn labrum, his second major shoulder operation in 14 months.