Martinez throws near no-hitter

Wednesday, August 30th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – After hitting his first batter, Pedro Martinez was nearly perfect.

Twenty-four up, twenty-four down.

Then came John Flaherty's leadoff single in the ninth.

"I don't really care. I've achieved enough," Martinez said after finishing with a one-hitter Tuesday night in Boston's beanball- and brawl-filled 8-0 win over Tampa Bay.

"I've had enough achievement in my career," Martinez said.

"A no-hitter is not what's going to dictate what kind of pitcher I am. I think my career is more interesting than one game."

After hitting Gerald Williams with his fourth pitch of the night, Martinez (15-4) was perfect until Flaherty singled to the right-center on a 2-2 pitch. Martinez then retired his next three batters, finishing with the third one-hitter of his career.

He struck out 13, including Greg Vaughn and Fred McGriff three times each, and walked none.

Eight Devil Rays – five players, manager Larry Rothschild and two coaches – were ejected in the first seven innings during five altercations, primarily caused by four hit batters, including Boston's Brian Daubach twice.

Tampa Bay thought Martinez hit Williams intentionally, and Daubach became a target for Devil Rays pitchers after the first baseman joined the fray when Williams charged the mound and landed a punch.

"The whole thing was we thought Daubach threw some cheap shots in the pile," said Devil Rays manager Larry Rothschild, who was ejected for arguing that Martinez should have been tossed out for throwing at Williams.