Philadelphia – This was vintage Pedro.
Pedro Martinez tossed seven impressive innings to outpitch Tim Lincecum, Ryan Howard doubled in the tiebreaking run, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the San Francisco Giants, 2-1, on Thursday night.
Martinez (3-0) struck out a season-high nine in his fifth start since signing with the Phillies during the All-Star break, allowing one run and five hits. He didn’t walk a batter and threw just 87 pitches in his longest outing since last Aug. 21 with the New York Mets.
“I flashed back to the good old times,” Martinez said. “I don’t have the power I used to have, but I always said it’s not about power, it’s about hitting your spots.”
Jayson Werth homered for the NL East-leading Phillies, who are 16-6 since getting swept by Florida at home last month.
Eugenio Velez hit a leadoff homer for the Giants, who remained one game behind Colorado in the NL wild-card race.
The 37-year-old Martinez, plagued by injuries and inconsistency during his last three seasons with the Mets, looked like the guy who won three Cy Young Awards and was one of the most dominant pitchers of his generation.
Martinez had plenty of pop on his fastball, often reaching the low 90s on the radar gun, and mixed in an effective change-up.
“He had a little more life on his fastball, good movement and he had good command,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He used his changeup well. I will admit he had a little bit more life than I thought.”
Martinez was lifted for a pinch hitter after Carlos Ruiz hit a two-out double in the seventh. Ryan Madson pitched a perfect eighth and Brad Lidge finished for his 28th save in 37 chances.
Lincecum (13-5) was the tough-luck loser for the Giants, who’ve scored the second-fewest runs in the NL. Lincecum struck out 11 in seven innings, allowing two runs and four hits. It was the seventh time this season the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner gave up two earned runs or less and didn’t get a win.
“He reminds me a little bit of me, but he’s twice as good as me at this time of my career,” Martinez said of Lincecum. “It took me seven years to win a Cy Young.”
Lincecum was equally impressed.
“It’s ridiculous how nasty his stuff still is,” the former Washington Huskies pitcher said.