NEW YORK -- If anyone thought they might have seen the last of Pedro Martinez as a big league pitcher Thursday night, think again.
The 37-year-old Dominican right-hander might not have been the most influential player in Game 2 of the World Series at new Yankee Stadium, let alone the long and storied three-generation history of its predecessor. But he certainly acquitted himself nicely in a 3-1 Phillies loss to the Yankees that evened up the series.
Asked if he wanted to return again next season, Martinez said:
"I think you're going to have to ask me that question after the World Series. If we win the World Series, I'd suggest you fly to Dominican and come and ask me. If we don't win it, I'll probably give it another shot. I did well in this game today. I'm perfectly healthy. I threw 107 pitches and I feel totally fresh. I feel really good."
No one could argue. Martinez, facing the Yankees in New York for the 17th time, took the loss, but kept the Bombers off balance for most of his six innings. Like CC Sabathia in Wednesday night's 6-1 Game 1 loss, he made two bad pitches that turned into solo homers: to Mark Teixeira leading off the fourth inning and to Hideki Matsui with two out in the sixth.
"I think it was a high changeup, and I wanted to be aggressive off him," Teixeira said about the pitch he hit for his first World Series home run. "If you get down in the count against Pedro with the way that his offspeed pitches were being thrown tonight, he was going to put you away. It was a 1-0 count and I saw a pitch up in the zone and I let it fly."
He wasn't exactly the Pedro of old, but after arm injuries, surgery and almost a year off, he mixed up his pitches, striking out eight, walking two and allowing all three runs on just six hits.
"Yeah, that's all I could do for today," he said. "I don't feel like I saved anything. I did everything I could to beat those guys. I'm extremely proud and happy being able to participate, compete against a real, real good team, a very solid team. I was able to put my team in position to win that game. At the same time, I proved to myself that I made the right decision by coming back to put myself in position to pitch in the World Series."
With the predominately Yankees-oriented crowd of 50,181 taunting Martinez, chanting, "Who's your daddy? Who's your daddy?" he opened by whiffing three of the first four Yankees hitters. The fan reference was to a Martinez quote from 2004. Frustrated after another loss to the Yankees in New York, Martinez said: "I just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy." Martinez smiled through it all and ultimately whiffed Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez twice each.
Even so, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he thought his club would eventually get to him and that his Yankees would indeed once again be Martinez's daddy.
"'Stay on him. Stay on him,'" Girardi said his team was yelling in the dugout. "'Keep grinding out your at-bats and something good is going to happen.'"
Teixeira's homer, a bolt to right-center, tied the score at 1. Matsui then gave the Bombers their first lead of their 40th trip to the World Series.
The Matsui homer was preceded by Teixeira and A-Rod striking out swinging.
"As you saw today, I struck out a lot more batters than you probably expected," Martinez said. "I have been working a lot harder at mixing my pitches and hitting location really well, keeping the ball low, because I know I don't have that 95, 97 mph fastball, at least not for now. Since I came back, I haven't had it.
"When I made a couple of mistakes, I paid for them. I'm pleased with the way things are going, and I still feel like I can get people out with what I have."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.