Boston's former ace signed autographs when he arrived at Fenway Park and heard an adoring crowd chant "Pedro! Pedro!" as he warmed up before the bottom of the first.
Then he gave up four runs in that inning, four more in the third and spent the rest of the game on the sidelines as baseball's hottest team went on to a 10-2 win over the New York Mets on Wednesday night.
But after his worst performance in two seasons with the Mets, the right-hander who won two Cy Young Awards with the Red Sox and the hearts of their fans still flashed the charming smile they had seen so often during his seven seasons in Boston.
"It's not disappointing at all," Martinez said. "The reception I got, I will always remember that as one of the best moments of my life."
When Jason Varitek came to bat against his former batterymate, it was a strange moment.
"It was very weird," he said, but "he got the respect and ovation from the fans that he so well deserved."
Boston extended its winning streak to 11 games -- all against NL teams and its longest in 11 years.
Martinez (7-4) allowed eight runs, six earned, and admitted he was caught up in the emotion of the moment. His ERA rose from 3.01 to 3.45.
He gave up seven hits, two walks and struck out one. He is 2-4 in his last 11 starts after winning his first five.
"Obviously, he didn't have his good stuff," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "Coming back here was a lot for him and I guess he didn't have the focus that he normally has."
Boston's newest pitching star, Josh Beckett, yielded two runs and five hits with seven strikeouts and one walk in 7 2/3 innings, five days after retiring his first 16 batters in a 10-2 win over Philadelphia.
As he left the mound he got a loud ovation and tipped his cap.
"They went more nuts for Pedro than for me," he said.
Beckett (10-3) tied for the AL lead in victories and his ERA dropped from 4.84 to 4.64 as Boston improved to 13-1 in interleague play, the best mark in baseball.
"You've got to go out and focus on what you have to do and not worry about all the other stuff," Beckett said of Martinez's return.
Martinez left the Red Sox as a free agent after helping them win their first World Series title in 86 years in 2004. He signed a $53 million, four-year contract, one more season than Boston offered.
The eight runs were the most Martinez has given up since Sept. 19, 2004, when he allowed eight in an 11-1 loss at Yankee Stadium. The three innings were his fewest since Sept. 26, 2003, at Tampa Bay when he was pulled early from a playoff tuneup.
"I didn't have anything," he said. "I couldn't spot the ball well and the Red Sox are a hot team right now and will probably unload on anybody."
Martinez was hurt by two poor fielding plays in the first, one of his own making. Kevin Youkilis and Mark Loretta singled, putting runners at first and second. The Mets put on the drastic shift to right field that most teams use against lefty David Ortiz.
Ortiz grounded the ball back to Martinez, who looked toward third, where no one was covering. By the time he turned toward second, Loretta was nearly there. So Martinez threw to first to get Ortiz, missing a potential double play if he had thrown immediately to second base.
"I did get caught up in the emotion a little bit and that threw me a little bit off, especially on that groundball," Martinez said.
Manny Ramirez walked to load the bases before Trot Nixon's RBI single and Varitek's sacrifice fly. Mike Lowell then hit a ball to deep left field that bounced off Lastings Milledge's glove for a two-run, two-base error.
In Boston's 9-4 win Tuesday night, Milledge misplayed Ramirez's fly ball into a two-run double.
The Red Sox made it 8-0 in the third. Ramirez led off with a double and scored on Nixon's single. Another run scored when Lowell grounded into a double play, and Alex Gonzalez followed with a two-run homer, his fifth, after a walk to Coco Crisp.
During that inning, fans serenaded Martinez again with chants of "Ped-ro, Ped-ro," but this time the chant was more mocking and drawn out, like the "A-Rod, A-Rod" greeting they shower on the New York Yankees' third baseman.
Youkilis wasn't surprised by the big early lead.
"Not for this club, the way it's been going lately," he said.
Another former Boston pitcher, Darren Oliver, took over for Martinez to start the fourth and pitched two perfect innings before allowing two runs in the sixth on Youkilis' RBI single and Ortiz's sacrifice fly.
- The 19 runs the Mets allowed Tuesday and Wednesday are the most they've given up in consecutive games this season.
- Loretta extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
- Tom Glavine tries to help New York avoid being swept in a series for the first time this season when he faces Curt Schilling on Thursday night.
- The Red Sox extended their club record to 15 consecutive errorless games.
- Delgado's 43 career interleague homers are second to Jim Thome's 49.