Pedro Martinez made it look so effortless and easy in his first start in Pittsburgh in nearly eight years, maybe he should think about pitching in the All-Star Game after all.
Carlos Beltran hit a two-run homer in the first inning to give Martinez the only runs he needed against a once-familiar opponent, and the New York Mets avoided a sweep by beating the Pirates, 6-1, yesterday in Pittsburgh.
Mike Cameron added a two-run double to help the Mets get back to .500 after a rough start to their weekend. They were within a strike of winning by four runs Friday before losing, 6-5, in the 10th, then were battered during a seven-run Pirates seventh inning in an 11-4 loss Saturday.
But Martinez (10-3) was in control in his first start in Pittsburgh since 1997, striking out four in the first two innings and nine overall in seven innings to win his eighth in 10 decisions.
Martinez passed up the chance to pitch in tomorrow's All-Star Game because he started yesterday.
Kip Wells (6-9) took the loss, giving up five runs and nine hits in five innings.
Cubs 9, Marlins 2 --Derrek Lee hit his 27th homer and drove in four runs, Greg Maddux allowed four hits in eight innings, and Chicago completed a three-game sweep of Florida in Miami.
Chicago had lost eight in a row before getting its third series sweep of the season.
Lee hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth and homered for the second straight game after missing three straight starts with left shoulder irritation. He added an RBI double in the ninth for his 72d RBI.
Maddux (8-6) bounced back from a pair of losses with the best of his 19 starts this season. He had allowed 11 runs over 11 innings in his last two outings, and had not gone beyond six innings in eight starts.
Brewers 8, Braves 4 -- In Atlanta, Geoff Jenkins homered and drove in three runs, and NL leader Carlos Lee had two more RBIs, helping Milwaukee's Chris Capuano prevail.
Capuano, a West Springfield native, improved to 10-6 by posting his career-high fifth consecutive win, pitching five innings and leaving with a 5-4 lead after the Brewers rallied for three runs in the fifth.
Atlanta's Rafael Furcal went 5 for 5, tying his career high for hits in a game.
Cardinals 4, Giants 3 -- Jeff Suppan pitched into the seventh inning and had two hits and drove in a run to help St. Louis edge host San Francisco.
Einar Diaz drove in two runs as the Cardinals won for the sixth time in eight games. Their 11 1/2-game lead over the Houston Astros is their largest ever at the All-Star break.
Astros 6, Dodgers 5 -- Brad Ausmus snapped an eighth-inning tie with an RBI single and Houston rallied from four runs down to beat visiting Los Angeles and sweep the three-game series.
Phillies 5, Nationals 4 -- Ryan Howard hit a tying two-run homer in the eighth inning, and pinch hitter Ramon Martinez drove in the winning run in the 12th to lift host Philadelphia.
Padres 8, Rockies 5 -- Brian Giles tripled and drove in three runs, and Ramon Hernandez had two RBIs to lead San Diego over Colorado in Denver.
Diamondbacks 2, Reds 0 -- In Phoenix, Tony Clark broke up a scoreless game with a seventh-inning home run, and Arizona blanked Cincinnati.