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The Boston Red Sox defeated the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night behind an excellent pitching performance of Daisuke Matsuzaka, and a late inning two-out rally.
The Blue Jays started off fast in the first inning as Brett Lawrie led off the game with a double to center field. Colby Rasmus reached base on a fielder’s choice, which moved Lawrie to third base. Following a Jose Bautista pop out, Edwin Encarnarcion grounded to third baseman Will Middlebrooks who committed a throwing error allowing Lawrie to score, and Rasmus and Encarnarcion to advance to third and second respectively. Daisuke was able to record the final two outs to avoid any further damage.
The pitching of both teams kept the offenses quiet in this game. Recently, the Blue Jays starting rotation has been decimated by injuries, which led to Aaron Laffey making the spot start in Tuesday’s game. Laffey went six strong innings allowing only three hits, no runs, walked two, and struck out two. The Red Sox almost tied the game in the sixth inning, but Dustin Pedroia was thrown out at the plate. The Red Sox offense was happy to see Laffey exit the game as they jumped on the opportunity in the seventh inning.
Adrian Gonzalez and Will Middlebrooks grounded and flew out respectively to start the seventh inning. Jarrod Saltalamacchia tied the game with a solo home run over the Green Monster off of Jason Frasor, his 14th of the year. Luis Perez came in to relieve Frasor as Ryan Kalish pinch hit for Darnell McDonald. Kalish hit a ground ball to right field which resulted in a double.
David Pauley then came into relieve Perez, and Daniel Nava came into pinch hit for newly acquired Brent Lillibridge. Nava was hit by a pitch from Pauley to put runners on first and second with two outs. Following a Mike Aviles walk to load the bases, Dustin Pedroia singled on a ground ball to center field that scored Kalish and Nava. Aviles was caught in a rundown to end the inning, but not until the Red Sox were able to string together a two-out rally to take the 3-1 lead.
The Sox weren’t satisfied with a two-run lead and continued the scoring in the bottom of the eighth. David Ortiz led off the inning with a double. Cody Ross followed that up with a single to right putting runners on the corners. Adrian Gonzalez then doubled to left field, scoring Ortiz and putting the Sox up 4-1. Will Middlebrooks hit a sacrifice fly to right field, allowing Cody Ross to score their fifth and final run.
Alfredo Aceves came on to close the game out in the ninth inning, even though it was not a save situation.
Daisuke Matsuzaka had another strong outing, which Bobby Valentine claimed was his “best performance this year” after the game. Matsuzaka went five and two thirds innings, allowing one run, on six hits, walked only one batter, and struck out five.
Daisuke has been impressive since his return. While his statistics don’t jump out at anyone, or scream All-Star potential, he has been a reliable option in the rotation. In four games since his return, he is 0-2 with a 4.91 earned run average. He has struck out 21 batters and what is most impressive is he has only walked six batters. Walks were one of his biggest problems in his time with the Red Sox, but this season he has shown more confidence in his pitches, and has found success.
Daisuke’s strong outings are a good sign as the Red Sox continue to improve and look toward making up ground in the AL East.
Tags: Aaron Laffey, Adrian Gonzalez, Alfredo Aceves, Blue Jays, Bobby Valentine, Brent Lillibridge, Brett Lawrie, Cody Ross, Colby Rasmus, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Daniel Nava, Darnell McDonald, David Ortiz, David Pauley, Dustin Pedroia, Edwin Encarnarcion, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Jason Frasor, Jose Bautista, Luis Perez, Mike Aviles, Red Sox, Ryan Kalish, Will Middlebrooks