Pedro, Mets fall to Marlins

Pedro, Mets fall to Marlins

MIAMI - Pedro Martinez took his first loss of the season Friday night after five victories. Yet the veteran right-hander didn't think of his effort against the Marlins as a defeat.

"I came out to win and I came out a winner," Martinez said after allowing just five hits and two runs in seven innings in the Mets' 5-1 loss before 15,338 at Dolphin Stadium.

"Look, I went out to win and I finished the game as a winner," Martinez said for emphasis. "The fact it didn't come out is thanks to the other guys. But I did what I was supposed to do to give my team a chance to win. So I feel I was a winner tonight."

Neither Martinez nor manager Willie Randolph read anything deeply significant into the fact that Martinez has not won in his last five starts now.

"Yeah, he's pitched with some tough luck, but he's kept us in the ballgame," Randolph said. "It's up to us to pick up sometime."

The Mets trailed, 2-1, when Martinez left. But Duaner Sanchez gave up three runs in the eighth, two of them earned, to make any comeback more improbable.

"Bad day," Sanchez said at his locker. "Pedro pitched a perfect game to keep us in the game. Then things got out of hand a little bit. A lot of bad things happened in that one inning."

One of those bad things was a throwing error by Sanchez on a sacrifice attempt by the Marlins' Hanley Ramirez in the eighth inning. It helped set the stage for Dan Uggla's two-run single and a run-producing double by ex-Met Mike Jacobs, which provided insurance after Josh Willingham's go-ahead RBI single in the seventh.

Martinez was distracted early in the game by a request from home plate umpire Brian Gorman that he remove a black warmup jersey under his uniform. Martinez said he wore the black jersey in every game last year and never heard a complaint -- now he was being told it was unacceptable.

"Major League Baseball says it's fine," Martinez said. "But now, apparently it isn't."

He said he went into the clubhouse between innings to remove the jersey and in his haste to return to the dugout, slipped backward onto the floor.

"It's a hard floor and it was slippery," he said. "But it's a good thing I have some cushioning on my backside. I wasn't hurt."

Martinez's effort wasn't good enough because Josh Johnson, a 6-foot-7 right-hander, held the Mets in check through seven innings after yielding an unearned run in the first.

The Mets opened the scoring when Jose Reyes led off the game with a walk, stole second and went to third as Miguel Olivo's throw skidded into the outfield. Carlos Beltran drove him in with a single to right.

The Mets would get just two more runners off Johnson. Paul Lo Duca singled to open the third inning, extending his hitting streak to 11 games. And Cliff Floyd drew a two-out walk in the seventh, but was stranded when Xavier Nady struck out.

"He was poised -- never too high or too low," Floyd said of Johnson. "With his height, he's able to get some good leverage on his pitches. And he had good command of his stuff, especially his changeup."

Floyd, an ex-Marlin, said that Florida impressed him as a hustling young club that is riding a high now with four straight victories. "But we're going to have to knock them off their high horse tomorrow," he said.

Some expected the Mets to steamroll the Marlins because of the vast differences in payroll and experience between the teams, plus the fact that the Mets were 10 games above .500 while the Marlins were 14 games under .500.

"Nothing is automatic," Randolph said. "You can feel you have the best matchups possible, but if you don't go out and execute, you're going to be in trouble. It was a listless kind of game."

The Mets' task was made more difficult when third baseman and No. 5 hitter David Wright could not play because of back spasms. Wright said he woke up Friday feeling OK. But as he took the hotel elevator downstairs, he felt the spasms. They continued as he arrived at Dolphin Stadium.

Once there, he underwent ice, heat and electrical treatment.

"[The spasms] went down a little, but I didn't feel good enough to play," Wright said. "I'm not trying to be tough or anything. I did all I could to see if I could stay in the lineup. It got to the point where if I played, I'd be hurting the team more than helping them."

But Wright, who is hitting .315 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs, is hopeful of returning to the lineup on Saturday, even though he still felt the twinges late Friday.

He doesn't have any explanation for the injury.

"I talked to a chiropractor and he told me sneezing can do it or sleeping the wrong way can do it," Wright said. "More than anything, it's just one of those freakish things."

Charlie Nobles is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.