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Pedro: 'We'll just push forward'10/19/2004 1:42 AM ET
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Give Pedro Martinez this: He kept the Red Sox close enough for them to catch the Yankees on Monday night.
And darned if they didn't, winning an extra-inning marathon for the second straight time to jump back in the chase for the American League Championship.
"We're not done, definitely. This is exactly what we wanted -- to build some momentum and go with it to the city of New York and see what happens there," Martinez said.
"We've got nowhere to run. We'll just push forward."
Martinez surrendered four runs in his six innings. He ramrodded his way through nine batters in the sixth as the Yankees scored three times to go ahead, 4-2.
"I made pitches on purpose to try to get them to swing, and it seemed like they didn't want to swing," he said. "It was totally confusing. It's a very disciplined team and we have to find a way to continue to have success."
Then he was done. But the Red Sox weren't, not by a long, long shot. And they finally won, 5-4, in the 14th inning.
Unless the Red Sox can become the first Major League club to overcome an 0-3 deficit in a best-of-seven series, this might have been Martinez's last game in a Red Sox uniform. A test of the free agent market looms if the Red Sox don't open their coffers enough to satisfy him.
Martinez didn't want say that much about "the people upstairs," i.e., the guys who hang onto the purse strings.
"If this is the last outing, I wanted to give my fans the best I could give them," he said. "And let's see what happens at the end of the playoffs."
This didn't seem to be the sharper image of Martinez that the Yankees saw in Game 2. A two-run homer by John Olerud in Martinez's sixth and last inning meant a 3-1 loss for the Red Sox.
Yet, on that night at Yankee Stadium, Martinez looked more like the Pedro of old rather than an old Pedro.
On Monday night, the crispness wasn't always there and he walked five, matching his high all season, and hit two batters -- both in the sixth.
Martinez, however, was very satisfied.
"I didn't feel as strong, but I felt I had a little bit more command than I had at Yankee Stadium," he said.
In the sixth, one-out singles by Jorge Posada and Ruben Sierra preceded Tony Clark's strikeout. But Martinez plunked Miguel Cairo. Derek Jeter, without an RBI in this series, changed that with a three-run double down the right-field line.
"It wasn't up at all. It was a good pitch," Martinez said. "Jeter is that type of hitter, probably one of the best hitters on that team and one of the best in the clutch."
Manager Terry Francona stayed with Martinez even after he hit Alex Rodriguez and walked Gary Sheffield to again load the bases. Next up: Godzilla. Another line drive shot off Hideki Matsui's bat, but right fielder Trot Nixon rushed in for a catch and the inning's final out.
Now all Martinez could do was watch as the long drama unfolded. He paced in the dugout, he paced in the clubhouse.
"I was totally stressed," he said. "Not being able to do anything, it was a little tough to watch."
Afterward, in the clubhouse as the players prepared to leave for New York, Martinez was a cheerleader.
"We have the greatest team. Regardless of what we do tomorrow, we have a whole bunch of grinders and a team to be proud of," Martinez said.
And he was a volunteer, vowing to be ready to pitch again in this series at any time.
"Any time I can throw again, I'm going to be out there," he said. "This is no time to be sore or aching."
The tumultuous two extra-inning victories, he thought, showed the Red Sox's mettle, win or lose in New York.
"Being behind, 3-0, this is one big gift for everybody who was watching," he said.
A big part of it courtesy of Pedro.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.