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Matsuzaka outduels Kazmir as Red Sox beat Devil Rays

Jul 4, 2007 - 4:18 AM BOSTON (Ticker) -- Daisuke Matsuzaka's June success has carried over to July.

Matsuzaka pitched eight strong innings and Julio Lugo broke out of his slump at just the right time as the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 4-1, on Tuesday.

Jason Varitek drove in a pair of runs for the Red Sox, who were playing their division rivals for the first time this season. Boston will face the Devil Rays 17 more times in the second half of the season after not meeting them at all during the season's first 81 games.

Matsuzaka (10-5) yielded four hits and issued just one walk while striking out nine to reach 10 wins in his rookie campaign.

"I rarely have a good feeling early on in the game because that usually causes me to let my guard down at the beginning of the game," Matsuzaka said through an interpreter. "Sometimes in later innings, I have a feeling that I'm doing well but that doesn't happen until later on the in the game."

"We didn't give them any extra baserunners with walks, I think that's big," Varitek said. "First-pitch strikes allowed us to do a lot of different things like mix in his split, his change and his curveball and move his fastball on both sides of the plate."

Since allowing six runs and 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings to take a loss May 30 against Cleveland, the Japanese star has allowed a total of six runs in six starts.

"I didn't realize he was that much of a breaking ball pitcher," Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I read that and I am watching him in the first inning and thinking that he likes his breaking ball and he's got a good one. He varies speeds on it and is definitely a competitor but I was a little bit surprised at the number of breaking pitches he threw."

Unfortunately, in his five starts in June, Boston managed a total of five runs of support, leaving his record at 2-2 for the month with one no-decision and a 1.59 ERA.

"It's definitely a work-in-progress depending on the game situation," Matsuzaka added. "I'm just doing my best to hold each inning, one at a time."

Closer Jonathan Papelbon came on in the ninth and surrendered a two-out solo homer to Carlos Pena before recording the final out to nail down the win in a non-save situation.

Support was not a problem against Tampa Bay thanks to Lugo, who snapped a career-worst 0-for-33 slump with a two-run single in the second. The shortstop, who signed a four-year, $36 million free-agent contract with the Red Sox in the offseason, is hitting just .194 this season - the worst mark among all major league regulars.

As he has all season, Devil Rays' starter Scott Kazmir had problems with his command in Boston's three-run second, issuing three walks, and eventually throwing 113 pitches in just six innings.

"Take away the second inning, it would be a whole different ball game, but I felt like there were a lot of things I could take from this game and felt like I got my slider back," Kazmir said. "It felt very comfortable for me but we're just going through a rut right now and we just have to get out of it."

The 23-year-old lefthander yielded four runs - three earned - and six hits, while striking out six.

Kazmir (5-5) had a history of success against Boston, owning a 5-2 record with a 2.60 ERA in 11 career starts entering Tuesday's contest. His lone career shutout came against the Red Sox on July 3 of last season.

The Red Sox plated three runs in the third when Kazmir walked the bases full to begin the frame.

"Once you get an ump in ball mode, it's tough to get him out of that mode," Kazmir said of home plate umpire Paul Nauert. "I just had to bear down and throw down the middle."

After Varitek drove in the game's first run with a groundout, Lugo's single pushed the advantage to 3-0.

"I just did what I've been practicing and fortunately I put a good swing on it," Lugo said of snapping his 0-for-33 slump. "Sometimes you hit the ball hard and don't have anything to show for it, but tonight I did. Everybody has been very supportive and give me different opinions. They've been good to me. I dont get frustrated. I might get mad but I don't get frustrated."

"I think everyone was (happy)," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "I think you could see him take a deep breath, and the two runs that he drove in were huge, not just for him to feel good about himself but for our ball club to have a little cushion. The way Daisuke was pitching, to have more than a one-run lead was (nice)."

Boston added a fourth run in the sixth when Varitek's sacrifice fly plated Kevin Youkilis from third base.








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

    BATTERIES: TAM - SCOTT KAZMIR, JASON HAMMEL (7TH), SHAWN CAMP (8TH) AND DIONER
    NAVARRO
    BOS - DAISUKE MATSUZAKA, JONATHAN PAPELBON (9TH) AND
    JASON VARITEK

    HOME RUNS: TAM - C

    Jul 3 10:06 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY CARLOS PENA (19) TO RIGHT WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 9TH OFF JONATHAN PAPELBON.
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 1, BOSTON 4
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: G NORTON (.205, 0-FOR-3)

    Rays vs. Red SoxJul 3 10:05 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY JASON VARITEK SCORED KEVIN YOUKILIS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M LOWELL ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 0
    BOSTON 4 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: W PENA (.220, 0-FOR-2)

    Rays vs. Red SoxJul 3 9:02 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JULIO LUGO SCORED KEVIN YOUKILIS AND MIKE LOWELL.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, J LUGO ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 0
    BOSTON 3 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: C CRISP (.261, 0-FOR-1)

    Rays vs. Red SoxJul 3 7:51 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY JASON VARITEK SCORED MANNY RAMIREZ.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M LOWELL ON SECOND, K YOUKILIS ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 0
    BOSTON 1 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: W PENA (.224, 4 HR, 12 RBI)

    Rays vs. Red SoxJul 3 7:48 PM
  • 5
    roots
    cramyamel Added 5 roots

    Rays vs. Red SoxJul 1 8:40 AM