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Matsuzaka Awful, Injured as Sox Fall to A’s, 6-1

Daisuke Matsuzaka gets pulled in Oakland after recording just three outs and may be headed to the DL with neck stiffness (AP Photo/Ben Margot).

After beating Seattle on Sunday afternoon to improve to five games over .500, the Boston Red Sox again had trouble scoring on Monday night and lost to the Oakland Athletics by the score of 6-1.

Rookie Jarrod Parker made the start for Oakland and had a great game, giving up just one run on six hits over 6.2 innings. Boston’s only run came in the first inning when Daniel Nava led off the game with a double and Dustin Pedroia singled him home.

Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzka, winless entering the game, gave the lead right back in the bottom of the inning as Josh Reddick took his former teammate deep to tie the game at one run apiece. Things got out of control in the second inning when Ryan Kalish dropped a deep fly ball hit by Seth Smith. Smith ended up at second, and the play was inexplicably scored as a double. Matsuzaka then walked Derek Norris and was taken deep by another former teammate, Brandon Moss, to give the Athletics a 4-1 advantage. Brandon Inge singled, Cliff Pennington walked, and Sox manager Bobby Valentine brought in Clayton Mortensen to try to keep the game close. The start was the shortest of Matsuzaka’s career.

Matsuzaka has apparently been suffering from the same neck stiffness that plagued him during his rehab in spring training and later in May. Unable to throw his usual bullpen before the game, the injury at least partially explains the terrible start. With the All-Star break approaching, the injury could force him to the 15-day disabled list.

Josh Reddick hit a sacrifice fly to increase the A’s lead to four, but Yoenis Cespedes grounded out to end the inning. Mortensen was stellar in relief, pitching five innings while giving up one run on two hits while striking out two. Mark Melancon followed with two perfect innings, but it didn’t matter as the Boston bats couldn’t get anything going against Parker. Oakland reliever Sean Doolittle retired all seven batters he faced to eliminate the possibility of a Sox comeback. The loss dropped Matsuzaka to 0-3, while Parker improved to 5-3 with the win.

The three-game series continues on Tuesday at 10:05. Jon Lester (5-5, 4.53) will face former teammate Bartolo Colon (6-7, 4.22).

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