Martinez belts slam as Red Sox top Indians
Victor Martinez hit 103 homers for the Cleveland Indians since first joining them in 2002. His first grand slam came against them.
Martinez hit it in a seven-run second inning and the Boston Red Sox won 11-6 on Saturday night despite a shaky outing by Josh Beckett.
"It felt kind of weird," Martinez said. "I was like, wow, it took me so long, and then to see who I hit it off it was just weird. I don't think it was (more) special because I have nothing against those guys."
Cleveland manager Eric Wedge knows what he lost when Martinez, who became a full-time player in 2004, went to Boston at the July 31 trade deadline for pitcher Justin Masterson and two minor-league pitchers - a middle-of-the-order hitter for power and average.
"He's a difference maker, whether it be on the field, in the dugout or in the clubhouse," Wedge said. "You're talking about an impact position behind home plate and handling the pitching staff and, obviously, he's made a difference over here in Boston."
After missing his previously scheduled start with back spasms, Beckett (17-6) allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings. But he's 6-0 in his last eight postseason starts and is in line to start Game 2 of the AL division series Friday at the Los Angeles Angels.
He said his back has felt good for three days.
"The most important thing today was to be healthy," Beckett said. "I definitely needed to get some emotions in check. Every pitch I tried to throw harder than the one before that. It caused me to miss location."
He settled down in his last three innings, striking out four and allowing one hit and one walk. And he got plenty of support.
Martinez's homer was his 23rd of the season and one of four by Boston, which can complete a four-game series sweep in Sunday's regular-season finale. Dustin Pedroia, Brian Anderson and Dusty Brown, with his first major league hit, had the others.
The Indians jumped out to a 4-1 lead over Beckett after 1 1-2 innings but extended their club record for consecutive road losses to 14.
Aaron Laffey (7-9) got battered in the second after striking out the last three batters in the first and dropped to 0-6 in his last six starts. He gave up eight runs and seven hits in two innings.
"I'm not going to (dwell) on it too much," Laffey said. "I feel like I've had a good season and I'm going to remain positive and take it into next year."
The Red Sox loaded the bases with no outs in the second on a double by David Ortiz, a walk to Jed Lowrie and a single by Casey Kotchman. One run scored on Anderson's single and another on a balk.
Boston reloaded the bases on an intentional walk to Pedroia before Jason Bay singled in a run. Martinez then hit his grand slam into the Red Sox bullpen in right-center field for an 8-4 lead.
Martinez has been a major offensive force in 55 games with Boston, batting .338 with eight homers and 41 RBIs.
Kotchman led off the third against Jensen Lewis with a single and Anderson followed with his fourth homer, making it 10-4.
Paul Byrd relieved Beckett after five innings then gave up a two-run homer in the seventh to Shin-Soo Choo, his 20th.
Brown, who replaced Martinez in the sixth, hit a solo shot in the eighth three nights after making his major-league pitching debut in the ninth inning of a 12-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Cleveland scored twice in the first off Beckett on a single by Michael Brantley, a double by Asdrubal Cabrera, an RBI groundout by Choo and a run-scoring single by Travis Hafner.
"He looked like he hadn't pitched in a while," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "He also had to get through the first couple innings and shake that rust off."
Pedroia led off the bottom of the first with his 14th homer, but the Indians added two runs in the second that came in on Brantley's single and Hafner's forceout at second.
"We came out of the chute real good," Wedge said, "but (Beckett's) a gamer, hung in there and fought through it to pitch five innings."
Notes: The Indians have lost 20 of their last 25 games. ... Boston 3B Mike Lowell was a late scratch from the lineup with a sore right thumb. ... Beckett finished the season with a career-high 199 strikeouts. ... Martinez has hit safely in 29 straight starts, the most in the AL this season and the most by a Boston player since Johnny Damon also hit in 29 straight in 2005.