Pedro Martinez likes the hot weather, and his record proves it.
On a sunny afternoon at Fenway Park, he struck out 10 in his first shutout in almost four years and the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 6-0, yesterday for their fifth win in six games.
Martinez improved to 9-1 since losing in Toronto on May 16. He got off to a slow start early this season, when it was still chilly.
"The weather was worse than I have ever faced before. You can't feel the ball," Martinez said. "But as the weather has gone along, I've gotten better. And, hopefully, it can carry over to the end of the season."
With a game-time temperature of 82 degrees, Martinez (13-4) yielded six hits, no walks and did not allow a runner past second base.
"When it heats up, he seems to heat up," Boston Manager Terry Francona said. "Right now is when we need him to be strong."
Martinez hasn't missed a start all season for the Red Sox, who moved a season-high 13 games over .500 and hold a slim lead in the AL wild-card race with 49 games left.
"He's not the power guy he used to be but he pitches," Tampa Bay Manager Lou Piniella said. "He was in full control out there."
Martinez threw 109 pitches in his 42nd career complete game and first since Sept. 16 against Tampa Bay. His 16th shutout was his first since he beat the Devil Rays, 8-0, on Aug. 29, 2000.
He also passed Bob Feller and Warren Spahn for 21st place in career strikeouts with 2,590.
"I don't pay attention to those numbers, but it's always great to find out," said Martinez, who lowered his ERA from 3.94 to 3.72.
He struck out at least 10 for the third straight game, fourth this year and 97th time in his career, tying Sandy Koufax for fourth place on the all-time list.
Boston's David Ortiz and Bill Mueller each had three hits and Ortiz had two RBI, giving him a career-high 102.
* INDIANS 6, BLUE JAYS 2: Pinch hitter Ben Broussard hit his second grand slam in four days, lifting Cleveland at home.
Broussard has three slams overall this season, including a shot Monday against the White Sox. He is the fourth player in major league history with two pinch-hit slams in one season, joining Dave Johnson (1978), Mike Ivie (1978) and Darryl Strawberry (1998).
The Indians won for the seventh time in eight games and stayed three games behind Minnesota in the AL Central. The Twins start a three-game series at Jacobs Field tonight.
* YANKEES 5, RANGERS 1: Orlando Hernandez won again with another excellent outing and Miguel Cairo hit his first career grand slam to lift New York on the road.
Hernandez (5-0) has a 2.08 ERA in seven starts since rejoining the rotation a month ago. He re-signed with the Yankees in March and rehabbed his shoulder in the minors for the first half of the season.
Hernandez yielded one run and four hits in seven innings, helping the Yankees clinch the season series, 5-4. He struck out seven and walked three.
* TIGERS 5, ATHLETICS 3: Rondell White hit a tiebreaking homer in the sixth inning, Craig Monroe connected two batters later and Detroit rolled on the road. Mike Maroth (9-7) pitched seven solid innings to win his fourth straight decision.
* WHITE SOX 3, ROYALS 2: Carl Everett and Ross Gload homered, and Freddy Garcia pitched six strong innings to lead Chicago at home.
* TWINS 6, MARINERS 3: Justin Morneau hit two home runs to awaken visiting Minnesota's offense, and the Twins snapped a four-game losing streak.