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Mixed emotions for Pedro in win
10/27/2004 1:42 AM ET
ST. LOUIS -- It was a bittersweet evening for Pedro Martinez, who won his first World Series game in his first try, but did it perhaps in his final outing wearing a Boston Red Sox uniform.

The Sox are on the precipice of what 10 days ago would have been the unthinkable -- a victory in Game 4 on Wednesday night at Busch Stadium will give them their first World Series victory in 86 years. But Martinez is also on the precipice of the unthinkable.

When the clock strikes midnight after the World Series ends, he can file for free agency and leave his Boston days behind him forever.

"I hope I get another chance to come back with this team, but if I don't, I understand the business part of it," said Martinez, after the Red Sox clipped the Cardinals' wings, 4-1, in Game 3 of the best-of-seven series that can now end any time in the next five days. "I just hope that many other people understand I wasn't the one who wanted to leave.

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"I'm only doing what I have to do. And they're going to have their chances to get me back in that uniform. If they don't get me, it's probably because they didn't try hard enough."

Martinez, like Curt Schilling on Sunday, took his "A" game out on the mound against the Cardinals at rain-soaked Busch. Schilling had to overcome an ankle injury on Sunday at Fenway Park to shut down St. Louis on an unearned run with four hits over six innings.

Martinez outpitched his ailing teammate, toying with the National League champs, who were shut out for seven innings on three hits -- all coming in the opening three innings.

There were great throws by left fielder Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz to stifle the Cardinals while Martinez was getting his bearings. But after a double by Edgar Renteria in the third, Pedro recorded the next 14 outs before retiring for the night, having tossed an efficient 98 pitches. He left with the Red Sox leading, 4-0 -- the game, and perhaps the series, no longer in doubt.

He had waited 331 starts over 13 seasons to pitch for the first time in a World Series, and on Tuesday night, he made the most of it, as the Cardinals ran themselves out of two potential rallies in the opening innings.

Martinez, who has a stellar 182-76 regular-season record and is 6-2 in 11 postseason starts, said he has enjoyed the ride.

"It's been great," he said. "I hope everybody enjoyed it as much as I did. Even with the struggles that I've had up and down during the season, I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed every moment. I enjoyed my career in Boston. I'm really happy things went the way they have."

Facts machine
Red Sox hurler Pedro Martinez retired the last 14 batters he faced in Game 3 and has now pitched at least seven innings in eight of his 11 career postseason starts:
1998 ALDS Game 17638
1999 ALDS Game 14303
1999 ALCS Game 372012
2003 ALDS Game 17633
2003 ALDS Game 57736
2003 ALCS Game 37646
2003 ALCS Game 77 1/31058
2004 ALDS Game 27636
2004 ALCS Game 26437
2004 ALCS Game 56746
2004 WS Game 37306
Martinez is now 6-2 with a 3.40 ERA (30 ER in 79 1/3 innings) in 13 postseason games (11 starts).

Martinez, who turned 33 on Monday, arrived in Boston just before the 1998 season in a trade that sent pitchers Tony Armas Jr. and Carl Pavano to the Montreal Expos. He had an immediate impact on the Red Sox pitching staff.

Martinez played the last seven seasons in Boston, losing in the American League Champion Series to the Yankees in 1999 and 2003. In the latter series, the Red Sox were five outs away from winning Game 7 at Yankee Stadium when Martinez frittered away a 5-2 lead. He was long in the clubhouse that night when Aaron Boone won the series with his 11th-inning homer off Tim Wakefield.

Last Wednesday night, the Red Sox were back at Yankee Stadium, and Martinez pitched the seventh inning in relief of Derek Lowe as the Red Sox ran away this time with Game 7, having stunned the baseball world by coming back from a 3-0 deficit to defeat their nemesis.

"There's not much that surprises me anymore. I've been at this a long time," Commissioner Bud Selig said on Tuesday about what the Red Sox accomplished against the Yankees. "But as I was sitting in front of the TV watching the last game unfold, I have to tell you, I was stunned."

The Red Sox have now won seven in a row and No. 8 would clear New England of all the demons and all the theories that abound regarding why they haven't won since defeating the Cubs in 1918.

Martinez will be there for the celebration and perhaps not too much longer. The Yankees are considered a real possibility as his future home, and earlier in the season, even Martinez indicated that if the Red Sox weren't willing to sign him, he could very well wind up with Boston's arch-rival. But right now, he says, his "heart is with Boston."

"I consider Boston my house," he said. "The emotions are always going to be there. I'm an emotional player. I'm just going to do whatever possible to remain here. If it doesn't work out, I'll go away with all the respect for management, for the team, for everybody. And I'm just going to continue to do what I have to do somewhere else and hopefully give them another push.

"I think four times out of seven years in the playoffs is not bad, is not a bad average. And also performing like I did tonight and in previous games in the playoffs is not bad. If I have to leave, I will leave and I'll be proud of it."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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