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Pedro blanks Braves, climbs to 14th on career strikeout list

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- For Pedro Martinez, the assignment Friday night was simple. All he had to do was lift the gloom and doom that was surrounding the New York Mets after 12 losses in 14 games this month and 15 in their last 18 games.

Martinez responded brilliantly with his 17th career shutout, outpitching John Smoltz in their fourth meeting this season and leading the Mets to a 4-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

"It was just a regular game," Martinez said, a mischievous grin creeping across his face. "I wanted to change the atmosphere around here. Give the fans something positive. It was in my hands to do it. I wanted to do it."

So Martinez (15-7) took a four-hitter into the ninth inning, got himself into an ugly first and third, none-out jam, then struck out Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones and left the bases loaded when Jeff Francoeur flied out to end the game.

The ninth-inning strikeouts of the two most dangerous hitters in the Atlanta lineup gave Martinez 10 for the game and moved him ahead of Hall of Famer Jim Bunning into 14th place on the career list with 2,860.

All season long, Martinez has injected electricity into his starts and Friday was no different. The fans were roaring in the ninth as he wiggled out of the jam with an assortment of pitches thrown at an assortment of speeds.

Chipper Jones described the hitters' dilemma against Martinez's arsenal.

"When you have so many pitches that you have to cover, when you have to cover five inches off the plate, that's a lot," he said.

Martinez threw a season-high 122 pitches. After seeing the bullpen blow so many of his games this season, he was not coming out.

"My way of doing things, I am a professional," he said. "When the manager hands me the ball, I go out and do whatever possible to win the game. They asked me how I feel and I said I'm going for it. It was a complete game, a good game, everything I wanted. We all needed it."

Asked if matching up with Smoltz, the Braves' ace, gave him a little extra incentive, Martinez shook his head.

"No, I wish they had their worst guy out there," he said. "It didn't happen that way."

Rookie Mike Jacobs gave the Mets a quick lead against Smoltz (14-7) in the second inning when he hit his fifth home run after David Wright singled. It was Jacobs' first homer since Aug. 24, when he completed a stretch of four home runs in his first four days in the major leagues.

The Braves' best chances before the ninth came in the first and sixth innings, when they left runners on third base.

In the first, Giles doubled with one out, moved to third on a fly ball but was stranded when Andruw Jones flied out.

Furcal beat out an infield single in the sixth and Giles followed with a single to left. But Giles was thrown out by left fielder Cliff Floyd trying to stretch his hit into a double. It was Floyd's 12th assist of the season.

Martinez then retired Chipper Jones on a grounder, ending the inning.

In the bottom of the sixth, Jose Reyes singled and stole second, his 52nd stolen base of the season. He moved to third on a sacrifice and scored on an infield single by Carlos Beltran.

Victor Diaz singled, stole second and scored on a RBI single by Ramon Castro in the seventh.

The loss was the fifth in the last seven games for the Braves, leaders in the National League East.

"We had a couple of chances, especially in the ninth," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "Pedro is a master out there. He really is. He's one of the great pitchers to come along."

Notes

  • Braves LF Ryan Langerhans recorded the first four outs, all on fly balls hit to the opposite field by left-handed Mets batters.
  • Jacobs' second-inning homer traveled an estimated 440 feet to straightaway center field.
  • Martinez's third-inning strikeout of Smoltz was his 200th strikeout of the season, the first Mets pitcher to reach that total since Al Leiter in 2000.
  • Braves 1B LaRoche struck out three times.
  • Martinez evened his season record against Smoltz at 2-2. He beat Smoltz on April 10, the Mets first victory of the season. Smoltz won showdowns on April 26 and Sept. 6.
  • Martinez now has nine seasons of 200 or more strikeouts.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Pedro Martinez improves to 15-7 by striking out 10 in a complete-game shutout.  (AP)
Pedro Martinez improves to 15-7 by striking out 10 in a complete-game shutout. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

M. Jacobs
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
New York

P. Martinez
IP 9.0
H 6
ER 0
BB 2
K 10
 
Atlanta Braves
Rafael Furcal, SS4020000 .279
Marcus Giles, 2B4030000 .299
Chipper Jones, 3B4010014 .303
Andruw Jones, CF4000014 .273
Adam LaRoche, 1B3000130 .244
    Pete Orr, PR0000000 .285
Jeff Francoeur, RF4000013 .310
Ryan Langerhans, LF2000110 .252
Brian McCann, C3000011 .263
John Smoltz, P2000010 .149
   a- Todd Hollandsworth, PH1000010 .246
    Dan Kolb, P0000000 .000
Totals3106021012 
a-struck out for Smoltz in the 8th
Batting
2B - Rafael Furcal (27, P. Martinez), Marcus Giles (44, P. Martinez)
Team LOB - 6
Atlanta Braves
John Smoltz (L,14-7) 7744051 3.02
Dan Kolb 1100000 5.37
Pitches-Strikes - John Smoltz 84-61, Dan Kolb 19-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Smoltz 8-8, Dan Kolb 2-1
Batters Faced - John Smoltz 28, Dan Kolb 4
New York Mets
Jose Reyes, SS4120001 .276
Kaz Matsui, 2B3010001 .257
    Miguel Cairo, 2B0000000 .245
Carlos Beltran, CF4011002 .272
Cliff Floyd, LF4000002 .272
David Wright, 3B4110022 .312
Mike Jacobs, 1B3112000 .302
Victor Diaz, RF3110010 .261
Ramon Castro, C3011010 .257
Pedro Martinez, P2000010 .088
Totals30484058 
Batting
2B - Jose Reyes (20, Smoltz)
HR - Mike Jacobs (5, Smoltz)
SH - Kaz Matsui (5), Pedro Martinez (6)
RBI - Carlos Beltran (69), Mike Jacobs 2 (12), Ramon Castro (40)
SB - Jose Reyes (52, 2nd base off Smoltz/McCann), Victor Diaz (5, 2nd base off Smoltz/McCann)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Cliff Floyd 1
DP - Wright-Matsui-Jacobs
New York Mets
Pedro Martinez (W,15-7) 96002100 2.80
Pitches-Strikes - Pedro Martinez 122-76
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Pedro Martinez 4-11
Batters Faced - Pedro Martinez 33
Game Information
Attendance - 37519
Game Time - 2:04
Temperature - 77
Umpires - Home - John Hirschbeck, First Base - Lance Barksdale, Second Base - Rob Drake, Third Base - Wally Bell