Orioles southpaw Brian Matusz pitched shutout ball for seven innings at Fenway Park this afternoon, leading the Baltimore Orioles to a rare win in Boston, beating the Red Sox, 6-1. He held the Red Sox to two hits — one each in the third and fourth innings — while walking three and striking out seven in earning his first win since April 18th. He had lost his last nine decisions.
It was the 13th time in 17 starts Matusz has held an opponent to three runs or less, yet his record is a dismal 3-9. The problem has been his run support — his teammates have scored only one run or were shut out in eight of his starts.
Orioles interim manager Juan Samuel said: “He’s probably been one of our most consistent guys. We haven’t been able to score runs for him, but he’s been able to take us deep into games, with us not playing well behind him, with us not getting base hits, so it was very nice to see us score some runs for him today.”
They didn’t score many for him today off Red Sox starter John Lackey, but they scored enough. Lackey and Matusz took a 2-0 game into the eighth inning, but the O’s scored two runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth to put the game out of reach. Lackey gave up four runs (three earned) on eight hits in 7.1 innings. He walked one and struck out seven.
Of Lackey’s outing, Red Sox manager Terry Francona said: “I thought today was the best stuff he’s had all year.”
The Orioles broke a scoreless tie with two runs in the fourth inning against Lackey. Nick Markakis doubled, advanced on Ty Wigginton’s bouncer to second and scored on a wild pitch. Scott Moore added an RBI single.
Baltimore chased Lackey with two runs in the eighth inning. Miguel Tejada led off with a double and advanced to third base on a single by Markakis. He then scored on Wigginton’s bouncer to shortstop, which should have been a double play. But Marco Scutaro looked toward home plate for a force out, ending any chance of a double play, and then bounced the throw to first base. Wigginton reached on the throwing error and Markakis moved to third base. Adam Jones hit a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0, and Lackey was replaced by lefty Dustin Richardson. The O’s added two runs in the ninth inning off Scott Atchison.
Kevin Youkilis homered for the Red Sox in the bottom of the ninth inning to avoid the shutout.
The Red Sox began the day with a chance to move into first place in the AL East, but fell 1½ games back after New York beat Toronto, 7-6, in 10 innings.
Francona said Clay Buchholz won’t make a start on Monday or Tuesday night in Tampa. Originally, he was pushed back after straining his left hamstring last weekend in San Francisco. He’s been throwing and running without any trouble, but the Red Sox want to be cautious — they aren’t going to take any chances heading into the second half of the season. Francona said: “I think what worries us is the unexpected moves that happen in a game.” He also said the club may put him on the disabled list.
Daisuke Matsuzaka will face the Rays tomorrow night and Tim Wakefield is scheduled for Wednesday… that leaves the team needing a starting pitcher for Tuesday. Felix Doubrant will likely be recalled for an impromptu start.