On This Date in Sports August 30, 2000: Pedro on his Game

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

Pedro Martinez of the Boston Red Sox hit Gerald Williams of the Tampa Bay Rays to lead off the game at Tropicana Field. Williams angered charges the mound leading to a bench-clearing brawl. Pedro, who was knocked over, recovers and flirts with a no-hitter as retires the next 24 batters. John Flaherty would lead off the ninth with a single, but it was the only other runner allowed by Pedro who leads Boston to an 8-0 win, allowing one hit, while recording 13 strikeouts.

 As the year 2000 arrived, there was little debate that Pedro Martinez was the best pitcher in baseball. Born on October 25, 1971, in the Dominican Republic, Pedro was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988. His older brother Ramon Martinez had made his debut with Los Angeles that same year. When Pedro Martinez made his debut in 1992 with the Dodgers, most thought he was too slight to be effective. This led the Dodgers to trade him to the Montreal Expos for Delino DeShields.

Arriving in Montreal in 1994, Pedro Martinez was given a chance to start and became a star. Pedro won 55 games in four seasons with the Expos and appeared to be getting better each season. This culminated with the 1997 season in which he won the Cy Young with a 17-8 record and aa 1.90 ERA. The Expos were unable to afford pitchers of Martinez’s caliber and were forced to trade him to the Boston Red Sox, receiving a pair of pitching prospects in return.

In Boston, Pedro Martinez hit the peak of his career, winning the pitcher’s triple crown in 1999 with 23 wins with a 2.03 ERA and 313 strikeouts to win the Cy Young. He would capture a third Cy Young in 2000, posting a record of 17-4 with 1.74 ERA and 284 strikeouts. The one thing eluding him was a No-Hitter, he once pitched nine perfect innings, but lost a no-hitter with the Expos as he gave up a double in the tenth inning.

Coming into a late August star, Pedro Martinez had a record of 14-4, as the Red Sox managed by Jimy Williams were struggling to stay in the playoff chase at 68-60. The Devil Rays in their third season under Larry Rothchild still had an expansion feel at 57-73. Opposing Pedro was Dave Eiland. Eliand pitched around a Carl Everett triple for a scoreless first inning. Gerald Williams led off for Tampa and was struck on the hand by a 1-2 pitch. Rather than go to first, Williams charged the mound striking Pedro Martinez and knocking him to the ground as both benches emptied. Williams would be ejected as Pedro Martinez, who was at the bottom of the pile, dusted himself off and continued to pitch—retiring the next three Rays with ease, including to strikeouts to end the inning.

Pedro Martinez also had a pair of strikeouts in the second inning. In third inning Boston gave their ace a lead as Everett scored two runs with a double. Eiland meanwhile was ejected for hit two batters in the third. Corey Liddle finished the inning as both teams stewed in anger. The anger may have been a boost for Pedro Martinez, as he had no hitter and six strikeouts through eight innings. In the fifth inning, Carl Everett flirting with history himself hit a home run to make it 3-0. That same inning Pedro Martinez struck out the side.

As Pedro Martinez continued to pitch no-hit baseball, Carl Everett needing a single for the cycle hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning to double Boston’s lead to 6-0. Through eight innings, Pedro Martinez had 13 strikeouts, and the only base runner had been the hit batter in the first inning. Carl Everett hit a fly ball in the ninth in his effort to hit for the cycle, but the Red Sox added two more runs. John Flaherty led off the ninth with a single to spoil Pedro’s big at history. Pedro retired the last three batters and settled for a one-hitter.