After Alex Rios singled in the first (he finished the night 4-for-4 with a walk), Matsuzaka kept the ball in the infield for the next 13 batters. Along the way he struck out four consecutive batters, including the side in the second. His only blemish was Lyle Overbay's solo home run off the right field pole with two outs in the sixth.
Matsuzaka had no "trouble" inning. Toronto had two men on base in an inning only twice in his seven innings. In the first, Rios singled and (with two outs) Thomas walked. With two outs in the fifth, Rios doubled and Lind walked. ... Dice went to a three-ball count on only six of 29 batters. ... We're going to see a lot of starts like this from Matsuzaka.
For the second night in a row, the Red Sox hit four home runs: Lugo, Ortiz, Manny and Lowell did the trotting this time. Tizzle's was a line drive to right, Manny's a bomb to dead center -- it's great jumping up to cheer a no-doubt Ramirez HR seemingly as the ball is just soaring out of the infield.
Ortiz was 4-for-5, including a double to left; Lowell was 3-for-4 with a walk; and Pedroia had two more hits (and a couple of great fielding plays). ... In addition to scoring nine runs, the Red Sox left the bases loaded in the first and fifth innings.
When Lugo and Crisp batted in the sixth, their OBPs were .299 and .279, respectively. Why are these guys batting 1-2?
Dear Bats: Can we get nine runs for Wakefield, too? Please???
(Also, we met longtime Red Sox fan and JoS commenter woti-woti, who is in town for all three games.)
Daisuke Matsuzaka (5.45, 80 ERA+) / Tomo Ohka (5.50, 81 ERA+)
Tonight is the fourth time in major league history that two Japan-born pitchers face each other. The others:
May 7, 1999: Hideki Irabu (Yankees) beat Mac Suzuki (Mariners) 10-1.
July 2, 2000: Hideo Nomo (Tigers) beat Suzuki (Royals) 2-0.
June 19, 2002: Ohka (Expos) beat Suzuki (Royals) 6-3.
Matsuzaka had a long side session in the hopes of breaking his habit of rushing his delivery when in the stretch, which causes him to lose command of the strike zone. Francona: "He's trying to make pitches happen, instead of allowing them to happen. I do think there have been times with runners on base, he's tried to be too quick and got ahead of himself."
Fifteen of the 23 runs Dice has allowed this season have come in six individual innings.
Kevin Youkilis is tired of getting hit by pitches. Last night, Casey Janssen drilled him in the left quadriceps -- six inches above where he was hit last Sunday in Minnesota. Several observers, including Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy, believed it was intentional. Yook, who was 3-for-3 at the time:
I don't know if it was intentional, unintentional ... It gets old after a while, getting hit, but what are you going to do? I can understand if some pitches, you're diving, but I wasn't diving there.Both teams were warned after the HBP. Youkilis may sit out tonight's game.
Which may give Jays fans more chances to boo Eric Hinske -- which they do to a ridiculous degree. What's the deal with that? He was traded to Boston, right? Did I miss something? Did he tell all the fans to @&*% his #$^% while he *&%#@-ed their mothers? I don't get it.