Martinez threw an economical six innings Sunday, allowing Atlanta just two hits on 61 pitches and then turned a comfortable six-run lead over to the New York bullpen in what became an 8-1 victory for the Mets over the Braves.
"I had an easy day and I deserved it, didn't I?" Martinez said. "It was an easy day at the office."
With Martinez coasting, manager Willie Randolph shortened the ace right-hander's outing, lifting him after six and using three relievers to finish off the Braves.
"I just wanted to get the bullpen some work," he said. "Even though he had a low pitch count, anytime I can take Pedro out leading 6-0, I'll do it and that's what I did."
That was fine with Martinez (11-3).
"I agree with everything they do," he said. "I trust them completely. They know what they're doing. I could use the rest for the future so I can be healthy for August and September, when they need me."
Martinez had the Braves baffled, throwing a variety of pitches and changing speeds. Atlanta manager Bobby Cox was suitably impressed.
"Pedro touched 85 (mph) three or four times," Cox said. "You say, `Let's adjust,' but he makes his pitches so perfectly placed, you still can't adjust."
Martinez controlled the pace, getting ahead of hitters and retiring the Braves quickly in every inning he worked.
"When I'm pitching, the defense is always on its toes, in the right place at the right time," he said. "It comes from tempo. I work fast and I throw strikes. I don't waste any time."
Neither did the Mets, who earned a split of the four-game weekend series.
They broke the game open with a four-run second inning against Mike Hampton (4-2), and Martinez was on the way to his ninth win in 11 decisions. He struck out five and lifted his National League-leading total to 143. The only hits he allowed were a second-inning single by Adam LaRoche and a two-out double in the fourth by Andruw Jones. By then, New York had a 5-0 advantage.
It was the ninth time this season that Martinez allowed one run or fewer.
Hampton was activated from the disabled list before the game and made his first start since May 31. He lasted just two innings allowing five runs on seven hits. He has had two stints on the DL this season because of a strained left forearm.
Cox saw some good in the left-hander's work.
"I'm really pleased with his velocity and what I saw," he said of Hampton. "He made some great pitches and a few bad pitches. I saw more than I expected to see. He threw easy and fluid."
The Mets, scoreless in 16 consecutive innings in losing their previous two games to Atlanta, took a 1-0 lead in the first when Jose Reyes opened with a single and raced to third on a hit by Mike Cameron. Reyes then came home on an infield out.
In the second, David Wright opened with a single and Chris Woodward followed with a double. Miguel Cairo hit a high chopper back to the mound for an out that scored Wright. Reyes then doubled with two outs to score Woodward, and Cameron followed with his 10th home run of the season to make it 5-0.
In the fourth, Reyes walked, stole second, advanced to third on an infield out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Carlos Beltran.
Woodward walked with one out in the seventh and came around on singles by Cairo and pinch-hitter Jose Offerman. Cameron's third hit of the game made it 8-0.
Estrada marveled at how quickly Martinez worked and how effective he was.
"It was like he was playing catch," he said.
- RHP's Juan Padilla of the Mets and Jay Powell of the Braves, both called up from the minors on Friday, made their season debuts.
- Cameron's homer traveled an estimated 390 feet.
- Reyes stole his 27th base in 34 attempts.