for this game

Matsuzaka lifts Red Sox over Tigers

May 15, 2007 - 4:09 AM BOSTON (Ticker) -- Daisuke Matsuzaka helped the best team in baseball shutdown the hottest one.

Matsuzaka pitched his first complete game in the major leagues to win his fourth straight decision and lead the Boston Red Sox to a 7-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers.

The 26-year-old Japanese righthander allowed one run and six hits. He struck out five and did not walk a batter.

"As for throwing a complete game, I'm not that thrilled about that in and of itself, but the fact that I was able to pitch my first really good game, first good showing at Fenway, that I'm really excited about," Matsuzaka said.

Closer Jonathan Papelbon was warming up late, but once the Red Sox pushed across four runs in the eighth, manager Terry Francona sent Matsuzaka out to finish the game.

"I didn't see a reason to take him out, he never came out of his delivery," Francona said. "Today he did not look like he needed to come out, he was better at the end than he was at the beginning."

Matsuzaka threw a season-high 124 pitches but made it easy on himself by inducing 17 ground ball outs.

"They (ground balls) came off of his cutter and off of his split and he kept both of those pitches down but utilized the cutter on both sides of the plate," Boston catcher Jason Varitek said. "Today he had a good fastball, good cutter and threw some real good splits."

"He's a very good major league pitcher and I was very impressed with him," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He had composure and first of all her had good stuff, he knows what to do with it."

Boston, which sports the best record in the major leagues at 26-11, had 15 hits and finally broke the game open with a four-run eighth inning.

Julio Lugo, the hero of Sunday's wild 6-5 victory over Baltimore in which the Red Sox scored six runs in the ninth, delivered the crushing blow in the eighth with a three-run triple to make it 6-1.

"We get everyone hitting on all cylinders, that shows what this team can do," Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis said. "For us, it is great when all our guys are hitting through the order and the confidence will build."

Matsuzaka (4-2) has been on the receiving end of plenty of offensive support, with the Red Sox scoring 35 runs in his previous four starts.

That represented a stark contrast to his first three starts, when the Japanese standout started the season 1-2 as Boston registered a total of five runs.

"I wouldn't say that my stuff that was the best that I ever had as a member of the Red Sox but as far as the results I'm definitely the most happy about what happened today," Matsuzaka said. "But at the same time I do not want to settle and have to say that going forward, the way I pitched today is the best that I can pitch. I hope I can improve continually."

Curtis Granderson gave Detroit a 1-0 lead in the third inning with his second hit of the game, drilling a two-out home run into the seats in right field. It was his seventh blast of the season and the fourth allowed by Matsuzaka.

The Red Sox tied it in their half of the inning, also with two out. Youkilis lined a double into the left field corner and David Ortiz followed with a single to center off his nemesis to knot it at 1-1.

Ortiz entered with an .071 batting average (1-for-14) against Nate Robertson (3-3), his second-lowest mark against any pitcher with at least 15 plate appearances.

The trend of two-out runs continued in the fourth as Varitek doubled to right and scored on Coco Crisp's single for a 2-1 lead.

Varitek and Crisp made Robertson work in their two at-bats, combining to make Robertson throw 19 pitches to the duo alone.

"It's key because he had to throw a lot of pitches in that inning after that," Varitek said. "It helps us stretch out this lineup when people at the bottom of this lineup can contribute and that is important because we have our damage makers in David (Ortiz) and Manny (Ramirez)."

Robertson continued to struggle and was touched up for another run in the fifth. Ortiz crashed a one-out double off the wall in left field and came home on Ramirez's single down the left field line that made it 3-1.

"For the most part we played good tonight," Leyland said. "Like I said we just let it get away a bit at the end, if we hold it at 3-1 you've got a shot maybe, but I thought we had good at-bats and they had tremendous at-bats."

Robertson, who threw 61 of his 115 pitches in the fourth and fifth innings allowed three runs and 11 hits in his five innings, striking out three and walking none.

"I don't think his stuff was at his best tonight but I think he really battled to keep us in the game," Leyland said of Robertson.

The Tigers had been the hottest team in baseball, winning 11 of 12 games before absorbing a 16-4 thrashing at the hands of the Minnesota Twins on Sunday night.

The Red Sox entered with six wins in their previous seven games, including Sunday's improbable come-from-behind, 6-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. Boston trailed, 5-0, with one out in the ninth inning before rallying for six runs.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    DETROIT 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 0
    BOSTON 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 4 x 7 15 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: DET - NATE ROBERTSON, TIM BYRDAK (6TH), BOBBY SEAY (8TH) AND IVAN
    RODRIGUEZ
    BOS - DAISUKE MATSUZAKA AND JASON VARITEK

    HOME RUNS: DET - CURTIS GRANDERSON (7) OFF D

    May 14 10:00 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY KEVIN YOUKILIS SCORED JULIO LUGO.
    SITUATION: 4 RUNS IN, K YOUKILIS ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: DETROIT 1
    BOSTON 7 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: D ORTIZ (.317, 2-FOR-4, RBI)

    Tigers vs. Red SoxMay 14 9:43 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY JULIO LUGO SCORED JASON VARITEK, COCO CRISP AND
    DUSTIN PEDROIA.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, J LUGO ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: DETROIT 1
    BOSTON 6 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: K YOUKILIS (.323, 1-FOR-4)

    Tigers vs. Red SoxMay 14 9:43 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MANNY RAMIREZ SCORED DAVID ORTIZ.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M RAMIREZ ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: DETROIT 1
    BOSTON 3 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: J DREW (.252, 0-FOR-2)

    Tigers vs. Red SoxMay 14 8:43 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY COCO CRISP SCORED JASON VARITEK.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C CRISP ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: DETROIT 1
    BOSTON 2 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: D PEDROIA (.244, 0-FOR-1)

    Tigers vs. Red SoxMay 14 8:25 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY DAVID ORTIZ SCORED KEVIN YOUKILIS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D ORTIZ ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: DETROIT 1
    BOSTON 1 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: M RAMIREZ (.248, 0-FOR-1)

    Tigers vs. Red SoxMay 14 8:00 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY CURTIS GRANDERSON (7) TO RIGHT WITH 2 OUT
    IN THE 3RD OFF DAISUKE MATSUZAKA.
    CURRENT SCORE: DETROIT 1, BOSTON 0
    DUE UP FOR DETROIT: C MONROE (.252, 0-FOR-1)

    Tigers vs. Red SoxMay 14 7:51 PM