What the Cleveland Indians saw in their 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night was just a sample of the pitcher that dominated the AL in the first half of the season, then dominated the NL's best to win the All-Star game MVP.
And they're lucky that's all it was.
"It feels a little weird, because usually I'm the one that's allowed to go a little longer. But today was an exception," Martinez said after returning from his first-ever trip to the disabled list with a no-decision. "Hopefully next time I'll be out there for longer."
Jim Thome's second home run tied the game, and Omar Vizquel singled in the game-winner in the ninth to give the Indians their seventh win in eight games and spoil Martinez' return from a shoulder injury.
Martinez struck out seven in five innings before reaching his pitch count at 78, allowing one run, one walk and three hits. Seeking his 100th career victory, he left with a 4-2 lead before Tim Wakefield (3-8) blew his second save of the season.
Thome hit a solo homer off Martinez in the second inning, then added a two-run shot off Wakefield in the eighth to tie it 4-4. In the ninth, Wakefield walked two before Vizquel singled in David Justice for the game-winner.
"Any time you can get a hit off Pedro, let alone a home run, it's kind of nice," Thome said. "Pedro's Pedro. He's always going to put his team in a position to win. I know he was on the disabled list, but he still had great stuff."
But not the stamina that has helped separate him from the others, at least before he went on the DL on July 19 with a sore right shoulder. He has three of Boston's four complete games this season, and only twice in his previous nine outings did he fail to go at least eight innings.
Martinez posted a 15-3 record with a 2.10 ERA in the first half and started for the AL in the All-Star game, striking out the first four batters he faced _ and five in all _ to win the game's MVP.
But in his first start after that he had the worst outing of his career: nine runs, seven earned, and 12 hits in 3 2-3 innings. After that, it was announced that he would miss a start for the first time in his major-league career.
"I went seven years without missing a start," he said. "Hopefully it will be another seven before I miss another one."
Paul Shuey (7-4) earned the win, pitching 1 2-3 innings and striking out two. Mike Jackson pitched the ninth for his 24th save, giving Cleveland its seventh victory in eight games.
Jaret Wright, who was also activated on Tuesday after going on the DL on July 19 with a muscle strain in his right shoulder, allowed three runs, three hits and six walks in 4 2-3 innings.
Thome's second-inning homer gave Cleveland a 1-0 lead. But Boston answered in the third when John Valentin singled, Brian Daubach walked and Nomar Garciaparra singled to tie the game.
Troy O'Leary followed with a high fly ball that left-fielder Richie Sexson lost in the twilight. It dropped in for a two-run double and gave Boston a 3-1 lead.
"Pedro and Jaret were both feeling their way around in the first couple of innings. Jaret got it together and pitched very well," Indians manager Mike Hargrove said. "If Richie Sexson doesn't lose that ball in the sky, Jaret leaves the game giving up only one run."
After Martinez left, Cleveland made it 3-2 in the sixth on a run-scoring double-play grounder by Jacob Cruz. The Indians loaded the bases in the seventh on three walks by Bryce Florie, but Rheal Cormier got Vizquel to fly out to right to end the threat.
Boston made it 4-2 in the seventh on three singles and Mike Stanley's RBI walk.
Notes: When Martinez retired the side in order in the first inning, it was the first time in five games that a Red Sox opponent failed to score in its first at-bat. ... With his 182nd and 183rd career homers, Thome passed Manny Ramirez for eighth on the Indians' career home run list. ... John Valentin's third-inning single was his 1,000th career hit. ... The Red Sox are one of three teams with a winning record (5-3) against Cleveland. ... Both Martinez and Wright were activated before the game. The Indians put pitcher Dwight Gooden on the DL with shoulder stiffness, and Boston sent infielder Lou Merloni to Triple-A Pawtucket.