Martinez Hit Hard; Mets' Clinch Delayed

Friday, September 15th 2006, 5:37 am
By: News On 6

Pedro Martinez sat in the dugout, head in his hands, and manager Willie Randolph put an arm around him. He was close to tears, and it wasn't only because the New York Mets failed to clinch the NL East.

Martinez struggled in his first start in more than a month, allowing four runs in three innings in a 5-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.

``My pitches weren't there. That was the biggest frustration,'' Martinez said. ``I was about to snap and let it all out. Thank God Willie was there. I felt like crying at that time.''

The Mets' magic number to win the NL East for the first time since 1988 remained at one when the second-place Philadelphia Phillies later held off the Houston Astros 4-3.

``However it gets done, we want it done with, so Willie can start with his planning,'' outfielder Cliff Floyd said.

In other NL games, it was: Los Angeles 3, San Diego 1; Florida 6, Atlanta 4; St. Louis 14, San Francisco 4; Cincinnati 4, Chicago 0; Milwaukee 5, Washington 2; and Arizona 5, Colorado 1.

At Pittsburgh, Martinez (9-6) was on a pitch count of 60-80 pitches and threw 68, giving up six hits. He struck out four.

He had been on the disabled list because of a strained right calf since Aug. 14.

``I didn't see the results I was expecting,'' Martinez said. ``When you come off so many days without throwing the ball, you want to make a statement. I wanted to do a little bit better.''

Jason Bay hit his 33rd homer and drove in three runs, and Paul Maholm (8-10) allowed one run and two hits in seven innings for the Pirates. Salomon Torres pitched the ninth for his eighth save.

Phillies 4, Astros 3

Pat Burrell hit a grand slam in the first inning off Roger Clemens (6-5), and visiting Philadelphia closed within 1 1/2 games of San Diego, the NL wild card leader.

Houston, which remained five games behind the Padres, loaded the bases with one out in the ninth after left fielder Jeff Conine dropped a fly ball, but Tom Gordon got pinch-hitter Humberto Quintero to ground into a double play for his 30th save.

Philadelphia starter Brett Myers (11-6) allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings.

Dodgers 3, Padres 1

Greg Maddux (13-13) didn't allow a hit until Brian Giles singled to right with one out in the seventh at Dodger Stadium, and Los Angeles rebuilt its NL West lead to 1 1/2 games over second-place San Diego.

J.D. Drew had an RBI double off San Diego's David Wells (0-1) in the fourth and scored on a single by Julio Lugo in the opener of a four-game series.

Maddux allowed one hit in seven shutout innings for his 331st victory, and Takashi Saito pitched a perfect ninth for his 19th save, completing a two-hitter.

Marlins 6, Braves 4

Dontrelle Willis (11-11) gave up four runs and nine hits in 7 1-3 innings as visiting Florida won the opener of a 10-game trip and closed within 2 1/2 games of the Padres.

Taylor Tankersley pitched out of an eighth-inning jam and Joe Borowski worked the ninth for his 34th save.

Florida's Dan Uggla hit his 25th homer, most in major league history for rookie second basemen.

Lance Cormier (3-5) gave up six runs (four earned), six hits and two walks in two innings for Atlanta.

Cardinals 14, Giants 4

Scott Rolen hit two home runs and drove in a career-high seven runs, and rookie Chris Duncan also homered twice at St. Louis. The Cardinals, closing in on their third straight NL Central title, maintained a 5 1/2-game division lead over second-place Cincinnati. It was the most runs for the Cardinals since they beat San Diego 15-5 on May 8, 2005.

Rolen, 1-for-11 in his previous three games, hit a three-run homer in the first off Brad Hennessey (5-5), an emergency starter after Jason Schmidt had a tight back. Rolen added a solo shot in the sixth and a bases-loaded double off Billy Sadler in a seven-run sixth that made it 13-2.

Jeff Suppan (12-7) allowed three runs and eight hits in seven innings for the Cardinals.

San Francisco remained 2 1/2 games back of San Diego.

Reds 4, Cubs 0

Bronson Arroyo (14-9) won his fourth straight start, allowing four hits in eight innings while striking out seven as Cincinnati closed within 3 1/2 games of San Diego.

Rich Aurilia's RBI single and David Ross' shot off Carlos Marmol (5-7) during a four-run fourth were enough to give the visiting Reds their sixth victory in 19 games. Cubs starter Juan Mateo left with tightness in the middle of his back after three hitless innings.

Brewers 5, Nationals 2

Carlos Villanueva (1-1) retired his first 16 batters and earned his first major league victory with six-plus innings of two-hit relief after starter Tomo Ohka strained his right hamstring while legging out an infield single in the third.

Geoff Jenkins homered twice for visiting Milwaukee off Ramon Ortiz (10-14).

Diamondbacks 5, Rockies 1

Brandon Webb (16-5) pitched a six-hitter, struck out 10 and walked none in his NL-leading fifth complete game to join the Dodgers' Brad Penny as the NL's only 16-game winners.

Luis Gonzalez drew loud ovations from Diamondbacks' fans in all four plate appearances one day after being told by the team that it would not bring him back for a ninth season with Arizona next year.

Colorado's Byung-Hyun Kim (8-11) allowed three runs and nine hits in seven innings.