Martinez was waving farewell to them and expressing his gratitude after they had done the same.
"It's been a fun place for me," Martinez said after the Mets beat the Cubs, 7-6. "I wanted to show the fans my appreciation just in case this might have been my last game as a Met or my last start as a Met. It was the wrong time to think about those things, but when they started to clap for me, I thought they might be thinking the same thing."
If it was his final start at Shea, Martinez afforded the doomed park a decent send-off. After allowing two runs in the first inning -- Martinez endured what has become his requisite first-inning trouble, and he now has allowed 23 earned runs in 20 first innings -- he allowed one more before his exit in the seventh. But one pitch after his departure, two more runs were charged to his account.
Ricardo Rincon, his successor, surrendered a three-run home run on his first pitch to Micah Hoffpauir, the left-handed-hitting rookie who had accounted for two of the first three runs against Martinez.
Martinez had allowed seven hits -- one was Hoffpauir's first big league home run -- and four walks and struck out nine, a season high for him, before Rincon was summoned.
And Martinez felt better about his work on Thursday than he had in his recent starts. His fastball touched 90 mph a few times; it hit 92 once.
"I'm not very happy with the game," he said. "I thought I'd stay longer. But I felt better today. I'd like to pitch more times when I feel as good as I did tonight. But I don't know. Nobody does."
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.