Martinez finds Coors Field no obstacle
Greg Maddux, Darryl Kile, Denny Neagle and Shawn Estes are doing outstanding jobs for division-leading teams in the National League.
None of them, however, has been more stingy with runs than Pedro Martinez.
Martinez pitched a five-hitter, his fourth shutout of the year, as the Montreal Expos beat the Colorado Rockies 3-0 at Coors Field on Tuesday night.
Assessing Martinez’s chances for the NL Cy Young award, manager Felipe Alou recited a litany of numbers:
``Earned run average: 1.80. Shutouts: 4. Complete games: 9. Wins: 12,″ Alou said. ``I can’t remember him having more than one bad outing, but I do think he’s got the best changeup in the league.″
Martinez (12-5) struck out 13 _ including Andres Galarraga four times _ and walked one. Martinez has nine of the Expos’ 20 complete games.
``The key for me was getting ahead of the batters early and being able to keep the changeup and breaking ball down against their big guys,″ Martinez said. ``I know I can pitch, not only in Montreal, but in any ballpark.″
With the shutout, he lowered his ERA from 1.91 to an NL-best 1.80, second only to Roger Clemens’ 1.52 in the majors. Martinez outdueled Jamey Wright (5-7), who allowed three runs and seven hits in eight innings.
Elsewhere in the NL, it was Los Angeles 3, Pittsburgh 1; Florida 7, Cincinnati 1; Atlanta 7, Chicago 2; Houston 5, St. Louis 4; San Francisco 5, New York 2; and Philadelphia 6, San Diego 5.
Mike Lansing had two doubles and Rondell White had two RBIs for Montreal, which won for just the second time in seven games.
Larry Walker singled in the ninth to snap an 0-for-15 slump, and he finished the game at .382. The Rockies, shut out for the third time this season at home, were blanked only three times at Colorado in four previous seasons.
``We didn’t match up very well at all with the stuff Martinez had,″ Colorado manager Don Baylor said. ``When you’re throwing 95, 96, 97 mph and changing speeds with perfect location, a pitcher is impossible to hit.″
Giants 5, Mets 2
At San Francisco, the Giants stayed in sole possession of first place in the NL West as Mark Lewis capped a five-run rally with a grand slam in the seventh inning against New York.
Brian Bohanon carried a six-hitter and a 2-0 lead into the seventh, but Stan Javier walked and Barry Bonds doubled with two outs to make it 2-1, and Greg McMichael (7-8) replaced Bohanon.
Jeff Kent’s walk and Glenallen Hill’s infield hit loaded the bases for Lewis, who hit a 3-1 pitch into the left-field bleachers for a 5-2 lead.
Estes (14-4) gave up two runs on three first-inning hits, but allowed only two more hits in eight innings. He gave up a walk to start the ninth, and Rod Beck got the last three outs for his 32nd save, tops in the majors.
Phillies 6, Padres 5
Philadelphia got its first series sweep of the season, winning at San Diego with the help of Kevin Stocker’s three-run homer.
The Phillies, who have the worst record in the majors (32-72), have a chance on Thursday night against St. Louis to match their longest winning streak of the season, three games.
Mike Lieberthal went 3-for-4 and scored twice for Philadelphia, which won a series in San Diego for the first time since a two-game sweep in April 1993.
Tyler Green (1-1) got his first big-league win since June 1995.
Braves 7, Cubs 2
The Jones boys, Andruw and Chipper, combined for two homers and five RBIs as Atlanta handed Chicago its sixth straight loss _ all on the road.
Andruw Jones snapped out of a slump with three hits, including a two-run homer, while Chipper Jones had a three-run homer.
Rookie starter Kevin Millwood (2-2) allowed one run in six innings for the Braves, who lead Florida by 7 1/2 games in the NL East.
The Cubs, shut out in their previous two games, finally broke a scoreless streak of 23 2-3 innings on Dave Hansen’s RBI single in the fifth.
Astros 5, Cardinals 4
Houston rebuilt its NL Central lead to six games behind Craig Biggio’s two-run homer and Shane Reynolds’ strong pitching against St. Louis at the Astrodome.
Biggio went 3-for-4, helping the Astros rebound from Monday night’s loss to the Cardinals that snapped Houston’s nine-game winning streak.
Reynolds (6-6) won his second decision in four starts since his return from knee surgery. He allowed one run on six hits in seven innings.
St. Louis twice closed within a run, scoring twice in the eighth to make it 4-3 and once in the ninth to make it 5-4, but Billy Wagner got his 19th save when he struck out Royce Clayton with two runners on to end the game.
Marlins 7, Reds 1
At Miami, Moises Alou hit two homers and Alex Fernandez stranded 10 runners in eight innings, helping Florida beat Cincinnati.
Bobby Bonilla had a two-run homer, an RBI double and a single for the Marlins, who broke a three-game losing streak.
Fernandez (12-8) allowed one run and seven hits, walked five and struck out seven. Florida had four consecutive two-out hits in the first inning, including homers by Bonilla and Alou, for a 4-0 lead against Mike Morgan (3-9).
Dodgers 3, Pirates 1
Pedro Astacio won his fourth straight decision and Los Angeles scored a pair of unearned runs as Los Angeles won its fifth straight game by defeating Pittsburgh.
Raul Mondesi and Brett Butler had three hits apiece, and Butler had an eighth-inning double that drove in the host Dodgers’ third run.
Astacio (7-7), who won his fourth straight decision after seven consecutive losses, was denied his 10th career shutout when rookie Jose Guillen led off the eighth inning with his ninth home run.