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Looking for one more big win in a spectacular career, Martinez couldn't send the Philadelphia Phillies home with a commanding 2-0 lead over the New York Yankees in the World Series.
Martinez allowed three runs and six hits in six-plus innings, striking out eight in a 3-1 loss in Game 2 Thursday night.
For 5 2-3 innings, vintage Pedro was on display - minus the overpowering fastball of his heyday. Instead, he baffled the Yankees with offspeed pitches and sneaky fastballs.
But with two outs in the sixth, Martinez got burned on a 1-2 pitch. He threw a slow curve out of the strike zone that Hideki Matsui reached down and drove a few rows deep into the right-field seats to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. The 320-foot homer - an out in most ballparks - was a deflating blow for Martinez.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner came out for the seventh after convincing manager Charlie Manuel he felt fine, despite nearing 100 pitches. Martinez gave up consecutive singles to Jerry Hairston Jr. and Melky Cabrera before calling it a night.
Manuel's decision to start Martinez over Cole Hamels, last year's World Series and NLCS MVP, in Game 2 was intensely scrutinized. But Hamels has struggled this postseason and Martinez threw seven scoreless innings in his only start at Los Angeles in the NLCS.
For Manuel, it was a no-brainer. Hamels pitches better at home, and Martinez has plenty of experience pitching against the Yankees from his Boston Red Sox days. The familiar chants of "Who's Your Daddy?" began once Martinez started stretching in the outfield 30 minutes before game time.
The reference was to a Martinez quote from 2004. Frustrated after another loss to New York, the pitcher said: "I just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy."
Making his first start at New York's new billion-dollar ballpark, Martinez nearly silenced the hecklers as he kept the Yankees' sluggers off-balance.
Martinez struck out Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon to start the game and fanned Alex Rodriguez twice. Using his guile, he froze Jeter on a quick-pitch fastball in the third.
Martinez made one mistake in the fourth, and Mark Teixeira didn't miss it. Teixeira ripped a solo homer a long way out to right-center to tie the game at 1.
Martinez spent the first half of the year home in the Dominican Republic. He signed a one-year deal with the Phillies during the All-Star break for a prorated share of $2 million plus incentives, and went 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA in nine starts down the stretch.
Martinez fell to 12-14 in 39 career games against the Yankees, counting the postseason. He hadn't faced New York in the playoffs since he pitched a shaky inning in Boston's 10-3 victory in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS.
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2009 NATIONAL LEAGUE SERIES
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