-- When they finally played baseball at Fenway Park this weekend -- after one aborted Opening Day, two rainouts and a near-mutiny by players unwilling to give up an off-day -- the Boston Red Sox must have wished they never had. Under clear skies tonight, Pedro Martinez managed to get Red Sox Nation's collective mind temporarily off the team's wobbly bullpen, but not in the way he intended.
In 261 career starts, Martinez had never suffered a beating like he did tonight, when the Baltimore Orioles pounded him for 10 runs in an 13-6 Red Sox loss in front of 32,029 watching in disbelief.
The 10 earned runs represented a career-high for Martinez, as did the seven runs he surrendered in the fifth inning, when six straight Orioles batters reached base against him, ultimately knocking him out. Martinez (0-1) entered the game with a 0.60 ERA and left it with a bloated figure of 5.12.
It has been a bad week for three of the game's most prolific starting pitchers. Within a span of four days, Atlanta's Greg Maddux, Arizona's Randy Johnson and now Martinez -- with 12 Cy Young Awards among them -- have all suffered 10-run beatings. (Maddux, however, was charged with only seven earned runs.) And all three remain winless nearly two weeks into the season.
"He's beat up on us and everyone else for a long, long time," Orioles Manager Mike Hargrove said of Martinez. "It's kind of nice every now and then to get back some."
Meantime, in one week, the Orioles (4-6) have faced Martinez twice -- both times with No. 5 starter Jason Johnson opposing him -- and have come away with a pair of victories. On April 5, with Johnson (1-0) providing one-hit ball for 61/3 innings, the Orioles won, 2-1, despite Martinez's complete game.
"It's huge," said Orioles designated hitter David Segui. "Any time you beat Pedro, it's a major accomplishment."
It was clear from the beginning the Orioles were catching Martinez on a rare off-night. He fell behind 2-0 in the count to three straight batters in the first inning. He walked Jeff Conine twice, and Conine had not drawn two walks in a game since Opening Day 2002.
Jerry Hairston jumped on Martinez's first pitch of the game and sent it into left field for a solid single. (Hairston would pay for that transgression in his next at-bat, when Martinez buzzed him with a pair of fastballs in the general direction of his head.) And by the end of the inning, the Orioles had a 3-0 lead, with Jay Gibbons, 2 for 14 in his career against Martinez before tonight, knocking in two of the runs with a double to right-center.
"I was ready to go yesterday, and I really felt good. I was pumped," Martinez said. "But things happen. No excuses. The other kid went out and pitched a good game. Why shouldn't I?"
And then came the fifth, which saw Martinez retire only one batter, that coming on Hairston's sacrifice bunt. Even the Orioles' worst hitters were crushing him. Geronimo Gil (hitting .208 entering the game) led off the inning with a single, Matthews (.195) collected an RBI double and B.J. Surhoff (.160) had a two-run single.
It was Surhoff's single that ended Martinez's horrendous night. He handed the ball silently to Manager Grady Little and slumped off the mound, head down, to a mixture of cheers and boos.
The restless Red Sox fans then proceeded to boo each Boston reliever as they entered, a reflection of the fans' dissatisfaction with the team's closer-by-committee system, which has been a bust thus far.
The fans should have been happy enough just to have some baseball to watch.
The Orioles made three roundtrips from their hotel to Fenway Park before finally playing a game. Friday's home opener was called off because of rain about 40 minutes after the scheduled first pitch -- but not before the Opening Day ceremony went off as planned -- and rescheduled as the first half a split doubleheader to be held today.
Then, today's first game was shelved about 90 minutes before game-time, but not until both teams had arrived at Fenway and changed into their uniforms, only to be sent home again.
"I'm sick of Boston already," said one Orioles veteran tonight about 90 minutes before first pitch, "and we haven't even played a game yet."
Originally, the Orioles were told the rained-out game would be made up here Monday afternoon, wiping out an off-day, an announcement that was greeted with a round of groans in the Orioles' clubhouse. About a half-hour later, after some protests from the Red Sox's players (who are also off on Monday), the makeup date was moved to Aug. 8 as part of a split doubleheader.
Orioles Notes: The game was marred by two medical situations that caused short delays. First, home-plate umpire Jerry Layne was forced to leave the game after taking a Martinez fastball off his facemask after the ball glanced off the mitt of catcher Jason Varitek. Layne was taken for x-rays on his neck.
Then, Red Sox third-base coach Mike Cubbage suffered a diabetic seizure after the end of the fifth inning. Cubbage attracted the attention of Orioles counterpart Tom Trebelhorn as Cubbage struggled to stay on his feet.
Orioles trainers, who keep glucose solution handy because Johnson is also a diabetic, quickly administered some to Cubbage, who was then rushed off the field on a stretcher and given a sugar solution intravenously. He was said to be awake and alert within minutes, but was taken to a nearby emergency room for precautionary reasons. He spent the night in the hospital.