It’s a good sign for the Boston Red Sox when a starting pitcher has flu like symptoms, throws 109 pitches, only 60 for strikes in 5 innings of work, gives up 12 fly ball outs, walks 8 batters and still manages to pull off a win. That was the story last night for Dice-K Matsuzaka, and luckily for him the Sox bats made those numbers hold up for his 5th victory of the season in the 6-3 win over the Detroit Tigers.
Matsuzaka now has a 5-0 record with a 2.43 ERA, but after last nights performance has now surrendered more walks on the year (27) then hits (22). He became only the 5th pitcher ever to win a start while allowing 8 or more walks in the game. Another notable name on that list was former Red Sox hurler Denis “Oil Can” Boyd.
“There’s not too many outings where you walk that many and still win,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “He competes. He didn’t have his best stuff or feel 100 percent physically, but tonight it was enough.”
Enough only because the Sox took care of business at the plate, belting three homeruns that Detroit could not match en route to their 4th consecutive victory and 6th win in 7 games.
Mike Lowell started the homerun brigade with his first blast of the season, a two-run bomb that came in the 2nd inning off of Detroit starting pitcher Jeremy Bonderman. Lowell had been sidelined for two weeks on the DL with a sprained left thumb, and along with it being his first HR of the season; it was also his first RBI’s as well.
Kevin Youkilis added another two-run shot in the 4th inning that put the Sox ahead 4-0 at the time. The homerun was Youkilis’ second in as many days and the first basemen now has 4 on the season.
David Ortiz got into the action belting a towering solo shot in the 9th inning for an insurance run, the blast was his 6th on the season. Ortiz’s average continues to steadily climb and is over .220 for the first time all year. He’s hit safely in the last 5 games and raised his batting average 41 percentage points over that span.
Out of the Sox bullpen, Hideki Okajima pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings and Jonathan Papelbon recorded his 10th save in 10 tries by pitching a perfect 9th inning to preserve the win for Matsuzaka.
The Red Sox improved to a 21-13 overall record on the season and are a top the AL East by 3 ½ games over Tampa Bay and New York. They also are tied with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for the best record in the American League.
With last night’s win in the books, the team is now currently in the midst of their longest road trip of the year, a ten game, three city swing that will feature three more games in Detroit, a four game series in Minnesota followed by a two game stop in Baltimore.
– Manny Ramirez needs 4 homeruns to reach the 500 career milestone.
– Craig Hansen made his season debut last night pitching 1 2/3 innings allowing 2 earned runs. He was added to the active roster when Brendan Moss was placed on the 15-day DL after having an emergency appendectomy.
– The Red Sox have a 7-8 record on the road after last nights win, compared to a 14-5 home record, which is the best in baseball.
– Tim Wakefield goes for the Sox tonight and has already beaten the Tigers once on the year.