Twins
Red Sox
2 - 5 Final
  for this game

Dice-K sharp as Red Sox clinch AL East

Sep 29, 2007 - 4:44 AM By Mike Petraglia PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer BOSTON (Ticker) -- Brought to town last winter to bolster the starting rotation, Daisuke Matsuzaka helped the Boston Red Sox bring home their first American League East title in 12 years.

Matsuzaka pitched eight strong innings Friday while David Ortiz homered and collected three hits as the Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins, 5-2, at Fenway Park.

A little over an hour later, with Red Sox players watching on the big screen TVs in the clubhouse, Melvin Mora squeezed home Tike Redman with the winning run as the Baltimore Orioles came from behind to beat the Yankees, 10-9 in 10 innings, giving Boston its first division crown since 1995.

"I was standing on the table watching the big screen and whenever Mora bunted, it was exhilaration," said Jonathan Papelbon, who came on in the ninth to register his 37th save.

The Red Sox went into first place on April 18 and did not relinquish the lead thereafter.

"We handled frustration because in the course of a long season there is so much frustration, what we went through in Toronto and to bounce back," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.

About 3,000 fans stayed in the park and watched the end of the Yankees' game on the scoreboard. The team came back out onto the field and celebrated with the fans, spraying champagne into the crowd.

"It's hard sometimes and we love where we play but it gets tough. We are gratified and it's a special feeling."

"For us to go wire-to-wire, it's great," Kevin Youkilis said. "To be in first place, there's so much stuff that goes on here in Boston, so much talk, so much worrying and it's so funny because you look back on it and everyone who was so worried and negative about the whole season can now rest. It's fun to see that we won the division, it's great and now we have to look forward to the postseason."

Ortiz had his third straight game with at least three hits, going 3-for-4, while Mike Lowell drove in two more runs.

Matsuzaka (15-12) reached two milestones in his last regular season start. He struck out Michael Cuddyer in the seventh for his 200th strikeout of the season and his eight innings gave him 204 2/3 for the season, making him the first Red Sox rookie pitcher since Frank Sullivan in 1954 to pass the 200-inning plateau.

"We're going to sit here and enjoy it and have a good time tonight and then compartmentalize it and move on," said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, who signed Matsuzaka to a six-year contract. "Getting to the postseason was an accomplishment, this is a real accomplishment, something we haven't done in a long time and something we haven't done since we've been here.

"You savor the moment, you're proud of the players and happy for the fans and then you compartmentalize and move on because you do have bigger goals in mind."

The Japanese righthander lost his shutout in the seventh when Justin Morneau drilled a fastball to the bleachers in straightaway center for his 31st blast of the season.

Matsuzaka allowed six hits and two runs, throwing 119 pitches in the process. He walked two while striking out eight.

"I think it was important for us and for him," Lowell said about Matsuzaka. "I think he wanted to get a good start under his belt and he did a good job. He did and he gave us a lot of innings. I think that can only help him going into the playoffs. That can only help him, going into the playoffs with a quality start wherever he's going to pitch against whoever. It's always better to end on a good not than not."

The Red Sox got off to a running start early against Minnesota rookie Kevin Slowey (4-1).

With two outs and none on in the first, Ortiz jump-started the Boston offense with his 52nd double. It was his 51st as a designated hitter, a new major league record.

Lowell followed with an RBI single to right-center field, scoring Ortiz for the game's first run. J.D. Drew made it three straight hits, doubling home Lowell for a 2-0 Boston advantage.

Lowell extended his franchise RBI record for a third baseman to 118 in the third when his groundout scored Manny Ramirez with the Red Sox's third run.

Youkilis singled home Lowell in the sixth to put the Red Sox up, 4-0.

Ortiz added his 35th homer with one out in the eighth to add insurance. The blast to the "Green Monster" seats also gave him 117 RBI, one behind Lowell for the team lead.

Slowey gave up seven hits and four runs, striking out three while walking none over 5 2/3 innings. It was the 23-year-old righthander's first loss in 11 major league starts.








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

    BATTERIES: MIN - KEVIN SLOWEY, GLEN PERKINS (6TH), MATT GUERRIER (8TH) AND MATT
    LECROY
    BOS - DAISUKE MATSUZAKA, JONATHAN PAPELBON (9TH) AND
    JASON VARITEK

    HOME RUNS: MIN - J

    Sep 28 9:41 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY DAVID ORTIZ (35) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN THE
    8TH OFF MATT GUERRIER.
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 2, BOSTON 5
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: M LOWELL (.325, 2-FOR-3, 2 RBI)

    Twins vs. Red SoxSep 28 9:30 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY BRIAN BUSCHER SCORED GARRETT JONES.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, M LECROY ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 2
    BOSTON 4 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: N PUNTO (.211, 0-FOR-2)

    Twins vs. Red SoxSep 28 9:10 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY JUSTIN MORNEAU (31) TO CENTER WITH 0 OUT
    IN THE 7TH OFF DAISUKE MATSUZAKA.
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 1, BOSTON 4
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: M CUDDYER (.279, 1-FOR-2)

    Twins vs. Red SoxSep 28 9:01 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY KEVIN YOUKILIS SCORED MIKE LOWELL.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, K YOUKILIS ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 0
    BOSTON 4 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: J VARITEK (.255, 0-FOR-2)

    Twins vs. Red SoxSep 28 8:54 PM
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    bones Added 5 roots

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  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY MIKE LOWELL SCORED MANNY RAMIREZ.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D ORTIZ ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 0
    BOSTON 3 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: J DREW (.268, 1-FOR-1, RBI)

    Twins vs. Red SoxSep 28 8:00 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY J.D. DREW SCORED MIKE LOWELL.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J DREW ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 0
    BOSTON 2 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: K YOUKILIS (.286, 16 HR, 81 RBI)

    Twins vs. Red SoxSep 28 7:28 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MIKE LOWELL SCORED DAVID ORTIZ.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M LOWELL ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 0
    BOSTON 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: J DREW (.266, 10 HR, 60 RBI)

    Twins vs. Red SoxSep 28 7:26 PM
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