WASHINGTON - Pedro Martinez escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam and pitched seven strong innings in New York's 3-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.
With both teams playing under a season-long warning to cut the beanballs after the Nationals' Jose Guillen declared "enough is enough" when Martinez hit him twice in the same game last week, baseball theater at its best was played out in the bottom of the sixth.
Martinez (2-0) struck out Jose Vidro for the first out to bring up Guillen with the bases loaded in a one-run game. After Martinez's first pitch was a ball, catcher Paul Lo Duca called time, went to the mound and gave Martinez a hard "Let's go" pat on the behind as they parted.
Three pitches later, Guillen hit a 91 mph pitch to the shortstop on one hop, and Martinez got out of the inning with a routine double play to end the Nationals' last real threat.
Except for that one inning, Martinez was impeccable. No one could accuse him of throwing at anybody because he barely strayed from the strike zone, allowing only three hits and walking one.
Billy Wagner got the last three outs for his second save.
Carlos Beltran went 2 for 3 with a run scored and a RBI sacrifice fly for the Mets, whose 6-1 start is their best since they went 8-1 to begin the 1985 season. Carlos Delgado doubled home a run, and David Wright went 2 for 4 with a double and a triple and a run scored to raise his average to .444.
Cubs 4, Reds 1: CHICAGO - A classic performance by Greg Maddux two days before his 40th birthday carried the Chicago Cubs to a 4-1 victory over the sloppy-fielding Cincinnati Reds.
Working quickly and using an assortment of pitches and speeds, Maddux (2-0) allowed three hits and a run in six innings Wednesday to get his 320th career victory.
One day after hitting six homers, the Reds had five errors - three by third baseman Edwin Encarnacion - to help Chicago build a 3-0 lead.
Cincinnati has another concern. Center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. left the game in the fourth inning with stiffness in the back of his right knee. He walked in the first and struck out in the top of the fourth before Ryan Freel replaced him in center in the bottom of the inning.
Griffey said the injury isn't serious, but he doesn't know if he will play Thursday against the Cubs.
Pirates 9, Dodgers 5: PITTSBURGH - Craig Wilson hit a pair of two-run homers, including a go-ahead drive in the seventh inning, and Pittsburgh rallied for a victory over Los Angeles.
The Pirates rallied from three runs down against the Dodgers for the second night in a row - they won 7-6 Tuesday - and did it again with home runs. Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez also homered. The Pirates have eight homers in the last two games.
Wilson, starting his second straight game for the injured first baseman Sean Casey (ribs), hit a two-run shot in the seventh off Hong-Chih Kuo (0-1) to make it 7-5.
Salomon Torres (2-1) picked up the victory for the second night in a row.
Cardinals 8, Brewers 3: ST. LOUIS - Jim Edmonds hit a three-run double and scored on a pair of errors during a pivotal at-bat in the fifth inning, helping St. Louis beat Milwaukee.
Jason Marquis (2-0) worked around a three-run homer by Carlos Lee in an otherwise solid six-inning stint, and Scott Rolen had two RBIs to take the team lead with 11 for the Cardinals. St. Louis is 2-0 at new Busch Stadium after going 50-31 both on the road and at old Busch last season.
Dave Bush (1-1) gave up eight runs, seven earned, in six innings for the Brewers. Milwaukee has lost three straight after a 5-0 start.
Rangers 11, Angels 3: ANAHEIM, Calif. - Mark Teixeira and Gerald Laird hit their first home runs of the season. Gary Matthews Jr. had a bases-loaded triple in his first game off the disabled list, and the Texas Rangers beat the Los Angeles Angels, 11-3.
The Rangers had lost eight straight against the two-time defending AL West champions, including 13 of 15 and each of the previous nine meetings in Anaheim - tying a franchise record for most consecutive losses in one opponent's ballpark.
Laird was 3 for 5 with two RBIs in his second start behind the plate.
John Koronka (1-1) allowed two runs and six hits in six innings, striking out five. The left-hander was one of three pitchers the Rangers acquired in trades after No. 2 starter Adam Eaton went on the disabled list.
Koronka went to the mound with a 1-0 lead after Phil Nevin's two-out RBI single in the top of the first, then struck out the side with his first 11 pitches and stranded two runners in scoring position in the second.
The Rangers increased their lead to 6-1 with a five-run fourth, started by Teixeira's leadoff homer. Laird drove in a run with a high-chopping, bases-loaded single to shortstop, and Matthews capped the rally with his triple to left-center. Four of the runs were unearned, the result of a fielding error by Gold Glove shortstop Orlando Cabrera.
Padres 7, Marlins 2: MIAMI - Adrian Gonzalez went 4 for 5 with two RBIs, and Chris Young allowed one hit in six innings to lead San Diego to its second straight victory.
Vinny Castilla also hit a two-run homer for the Padres.
Miguel Cabrera hit his second homer of the season for Florida, which lost its fifth game in a row and is off to a 1-6 start. The Marlins have the youngest team and lowest payroll in the major leagues.
Phillies 7, Braves 5: ATLANTA - Aaron Rowand hit a two-run homer. Pat Burrell also homered, and Philadelphia won for only the second time this season.
The Phillies, who lost six of their first seven games, jumped ahead 4-0 in the second inning and held on from there.
Wilson Betemit, filling in for injured third baseman Chipper Jones, hit a two-out, two-run double in the eighth that brought the tying run to the plate. But Arthur Rhodes struck out pinch-hitter Matt Diaz to end the threat.
Cory Lidle (1-0) scattered 10 hits in six innings for the win. Tom Gordon pitched a perfect ninth for his first save with the Phillies.
Yankees 12, Royals 5: NEW YORK - Gary Sheffield homered and drove in four runs, and Shawn Chacon overcame a shaky start to earn his first victory of the season as the New York Yankees' beat Kansas City, 12-5.
Jason Giambi had a pair of RBI doubles. Derek Jeter scored three times, and Sheffield finished with three hits as New York tagged Royals starter Jeremy Affeldt (0-1).
White Sox 4, Tigers 3: DETROIT - Jim Thome homered for the second straight game, and Jose Contreras tossed eight strong innings for the White Sox. Contreras (1-0), who stretched his winning streak to nine games dating to last season, struck out two and allowed six hits and one walk.
Chris Shelton hit his major league-leading sixth homer of the season, a two-run shot, to pull the Tigers within one in the ninth. But Bobby Jenks recovered to get the next two outs for his third save.
Blue Jays 8, Red Sox 4: BOSTON - Alexis Rios, Bengie Molina and Vernon Wells homered off David Wells in the left-hander's first start of the season, leading Toronto past Boston.
Rios had a two-run homer and a career-best four RBIs for the Blue Jays, who had a season-high 16 hits.
Gustavo Chacin (2-0) benefited from a 5-0 lead after two innings, allowing three runs on five hits in five innings.
Mariners 11, Indians: CLEVELAND - Richie Sexson's grand slam put Seattle comfortably ahead and the Mariners snapped a four-game slide and ended Cleveland's winning streak at six.
Sexson hit his 10th career slam in the sixth inning off reliever Danny Graves to make it 10-5 as the Mariners handed the Indians their first loss since opening day in Chicago.
Raul Ibanez went 4 for 4 with four RBIs, and Ichiro Suzuki snapped an 0-for-18 slump with three singles and scored four runs for Seattle, which knocked starter Paul Byrd (1-1) out in the fourth.
Jake Woods (1-0) pitched well in relief of starter Gil Meche to pick up the victor, allowing two runs and two hits in three innings.
Casey Blake had four RBIs for Cleveland and Travis Hafner hit a two-run homer, moving into a tie for the major league lead with his sixth of the season.
Devil Rays 7, Orioles 4: ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Jonny Gomes hit a tiebreaking grand slam in the eighth inning, leading Tampa Bay Devil over Baltimore.
Tomas Perez opened the eighth with a single off Sendy Rleal (0-1) and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Joey Gathright. Damon Hollins' single put runners on first and third before Russell Branyan reached to load the bases when Rleal was charged with an error for misplaying his bunt.
Gomes then sent a 1-1 pitch into the left field stands for his first career grand slam and a 7-3 lead.
Shawn Camp (1-0) pitched 1 1-3 innings, and Dan Miceli got the last two outs for his third save. Ty Wigginton homered for the second straight game, hitting a two-run shot off Orioles reliever John Halama to tie the score 3-all in the seventh.
Kevin Millar homered twice and drove in three runs to lead Baltimore.
Twins 6, Athletics 5: MINNEAPOLIS - Justin Morneau hit his second homer in two nights and Torii Hunter had two hits and a home run to lead Minnesota over Oakland.
Tony Batista added three hits and an RBI for the Twins, who have bounced out of an offensive funk that led to a 1-5 start with two big nights in a row at home. Carlos Silva (1-1) worked seven innings to get the win.
Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth inning for his second save.
Nick Swisher went 3-for-4 with two home runs and tied a career high with four RBIs for the A's, who are now guaranteed of losing their first series of the season.
One night after squandering a 4-0 lead, the A's spotted starter Esteban Loaiza (0-2) three runs on Wednesday night, but he couldn't hold it.