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Red Sox Fall to Orioles in Matsuzaka’s Return

Daisuke Matsuzaka hangs his head during the fifth inning collapse (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

2010 was supposed to be a fresh start for Daisuke Matsuzaka after his injury plagued 2009 season, but his debut was not the outing Sox fans had been hoping for.

While Matsuzaka would allow just one hit over the first four innings, things fell apart in the fifth and Daisuke ended up in a familiar place: the 100 pitch mark (95 to be exact). The right-hander gave up a few sharp hits, including a nub to Adrian Beltre that simply couldn’t turn into an out, but taken together it was too much to overcome.

Unfortunately, newly converted bullpen guy Tim Wakefield was unable to stop the bleeding, and in just two and a third innings allowed five runs of his own, pushing the comeback target ever further away as the Red Sox tried their best to get back into the game.

O’s starter Brad Bergesen lasted just five innings and left-handed reliever Mark Hendrickson quickly gave up four runs in his inning and two thirds of work, making the loss that much tougher for the Sox.

Sox Stud of the Game: David Ortiz

Big Papi is back! Not quite, but this was an encouraging night for Ortiz, collecting his second and third home runs of the season, including one off a lefty.

Sox Dud of the Game: Terry Francona

Tonight’s game was lost because of bullpen management. When Daisuke began to falter in the fifth inning, Francona summoned Tim Wakefield only after Matsuzaka surrendered the home run to O’s catcher Matt Wieters, giving Baltimore a 7-4 lead at the time. A short reliever could have warmed up faster than Wakefield and entered the game tied at four with two men on, leaving Wakefield to take over the game with a fresh inning, fully warmed.

Game Notes:

W: Bergebsen (1-2)

L: Matsuzaka (0-1)

SV: Simon (2)

  • Rather than pinch hitting with Mike Lowell, Francona let Ortiz face a lefty, and was rewarded for this decision with a home run.
  • Victor Martinez threw out his third runner of the season, the second in two days. His new arm slot just might be doing the trick.
  • Julio Lugo entered the game as a defensive replacement.

About Mike Carlucci

Mike Carlucci writes about the Red Sox for Sports of Boston and can be found blogging about baseball and technology. He has a J.D and enjoys palindromes and espresso. You can follow him on Twitter @mikecarlucci or on Google+.

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