Martinez outduels Smoltz with six-hitter, 10 strikeouts
FLUSHING, New York (Ticker) - Round Four of the battle of Cy Young Award winners went to
Martinez pitched a six-hitter for his first shutout in more than a year and outdueled
New York Mets
, 4-0, in the opener of a three-game series.
Martinez and Smoltz have combined for four Cy Young Awards and have become familiar foes. Friday marked their fourth meeting in 2005 and the first time either pitcher had faced the same hurler four times in a season in their careers.
The series is split at two wins apiece after Martinez (15-7) pitched his 17th shutout and first since August 12, 2004 with Boston vs. Tampa Bay.
"Too much Martinez. He's a master out there," Braves manager
said. "He's one of the game's greatest pitchers to come through."
Martinez walked two and struck out 10, reaching double digits for the fifth time this season and 104th career. He raised his career strikeout total to 2,860, moving past
into 14th place on the all-time list.
"I'm a professional. When they hand me the ball, I just try to go out there and do the best I can to win," said Martinez, who threw a season-high 122 pitches. "It's just a coincidence (that I faced Smoltz four times). I just did what I had to do."
hit a two-run homer for the struggling Mets, who won for just the second time in their last 11 games. Both wins in that span were recorded by Martinez.
"He comes out knowing how to pitch and executes it," Mets manager
said. "Tonight was a perfect example of that. He was outstanding."
Martinez reached 200 strikeouts for the ninth time in his career when he fanned Smoltz in the third. He is the first Mets pitcher to reach 200 since
Martinez faced his first serious trouble in the sixth. With a runner on first and one out,
was out trying to stretch a single into a double.
was left at third when
"Pedro throws a lot like Livan (Hernandez)," said Giles, who had three hits. "He'll throw off-speed on any pitch in the count. He pitched great. We couldn't do anything."
In the ninth, Martinez allowed a pair of hits that put runners at the corners. He struck out
to load the bases and got rookie Jeff Francouer on a long fly to left field.
"He just missed that," Cox said of Francouer's fly ball.
Smoltz (14-7) lasted seven innings and allowed four runs and seven hits. He struck out five without a walk.
"I made one bad pitch (to Jacobs)," Smoltz said. "I didn?t think it would cost us the game but it did. You know when you're facing Pedro, you have to be at the top of your game."
singled with one out in the second and Jacobs followed with his fifth homer, a shot to right-center field.
"I've never been part of a game that exciting," said Jacobs, who was called up from the minors last month.
"You have to give the kid credit for hitting one off Smoltz," Martinez said. "He can run home and say, 'Mommy, I just hit one off Smoltz.'"
New York added a run in the sixth when
singled, stole second, took third on a sacrifice and scored on an infield single by
made it 4-0 with an RBI single in the seventh.
The Mets won for just the fourth time in their last 18 games overall and snapped a season-high five-game home losing streak. Atlanta lost for the fourth time in five games.