Behind Martinez, Boston made a 4-1 win seem like a blowout; St. Louis did not get on the board until Larry Walker homered against Foulke in the bottom of the ninth. Martinez allowed three hits--two infield hits and an opposite-field double--struck out six and retired the last 14 batters he faced. The Cardinals had been 6-0 at home in the postseason before they ran into Martinez.
"It's emotional for me," Varitek said, "because I've been with him a long time, and for him to put up with the stuff he's had to put up with and have a performance like that, I tip my hat to him."
Asked just what "stuff" Martinez had endured, Varitek said, "Every time he pitches it's, 'What's wrong with Pedro?' because he's not striking out 19. I'm just really happy for him. This is his moment."
With free agency pending, Martinez knew the start might have been his last in a Boston uniform.
"Performing like I did tonight and in previous games in the playoffs is not bad," Martinez said. "If I have to leave, I will leave, and I'll be proud."
For the fourth straight postseason game, Boston scored in the first inning, this time on a bullet of a home run by Ramirez. Martinez seemed wobbly at the start. He walked two batters around an infield single by Albert Pujols while throwing mostly fastballs, cutters and sliders. Then Edmonds hit a shallow pop fly to Ramirez in leftfield. Pujols wandered so far off second base in anticipation that the ball might drop that Walker decided he must tag from third and make an attempt to score. It was a desperate decision. Ramirez easily threw out Walker at the plate.
The Cardinals would have one more chance to bloody Martinez, and they would blow that, too, with shoddy baserunning. Starting pitcher Jeff Suppan was at third and Renteria at second with no outs in the third when Walker rolled a grounder to Bellhorn. The Red Sox conceded the run in that situation, keeping Bellhorn back near the outfield grass. Bellhorn flipped to first baseman David Ortiz for the out.
Suppan, however, inexplicably panicked. He started for home, stopped, broke back for third, broke again for home and then, upon seeing Ortiz spot him, tried to scamper back to third. It was too late. Ortiz threw to Mueller, who tagged Suppan out for a dagger of a double play.
"I was supposed to go on contact," Suppan said. "It was a situation where I just made a bad baserunning mistake."
St. Louis would never get another runner against Martinez. He threw mostly changeups over his final four innings, exploiting the Cardinals' urgency to get back into the game and the Series.