After opening a key nine-game road trip with a victory, the Boston Red Sox have to feel good about their chances as their three-game series at Baltimore continues.
Daisuke Matsuzaka looks to remain unbeaten on the road and continue his dominance this month when the Red Sox play the Orioles Tuesday.
After being a season-worst 21-32 on the road on July 20, Boston (72-53) appears to have solved some of its problems away from Fenway Park, winning eight of its last 11 road games.
The Red Sox defeated Baltimore 6-3 in Monday’s opener to remain 4 1/2 games back of AL East-leading Tampa Bay, and move 1 1/2 games ahead of Minnesota in the wild-card race.
The Orioles (60-64), meanwhile, have lost seven of 10 at home and eight of their last 11 overall to the Red Sox.
Boston got another solid performance from its new left fielder in Monday’s win, as Jason Bay homered twice and drove in four runs. Bay is batting .348 (23-for-66) with three home runs and 16 RBIs in 16 games since being acquired from Pittsburgh.
“That’s part of my job, driving in runs, and you’ve got to have guys on base to do that,” said Bay, who is also 8-for-16 with six runs in four games at Oriole Park this season. “It’s a testament to those guys. (I’m) just trying to be a complement to the puzzle.”
While Boston is beginning to get things turned around on the road, Matsuzaka (14-2, 2.74 ERA) has been impressive away from Fenway all season.
He is 6-0 with a 2.04 ERA in nine road starts, and 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA in his four starts away from Boston since coming off the disabled list on June 21 with a right rotator cuff strain.
Matsuzaka has also been one of the best pitchers in the majors this month, posting a 1.29 ERA in winning his three August starts. On Thursday, the right-hander gave up six hits and five walks with five strikeouts in seven innings of a 10-0 win over Texas.
In his only start against the Orioles this season on July 13, Matsuzaka allowed four hits and five walks with seven strikeouts in six shutout innings of a 2-1 victory.
Matsuzaka, who is one victory away from matching his win total from a year ago, had two dissimilar outings in Baltimore last season. On Aug. 10, 2007, Matsuzaka allowed one run and four hits in seven innings of a game Boston would eventually lose, and on Sept. 8, he was tagged for eight runs and six hits in 2 2-3 innings of an 11-5 loss.
The Orioles managed only five hits in Monday’s loss to Boston after pounding out a season-high 22 in Sunday’s 16-8 win over Detroit.
“You’re not going to win them all, but obviously that’s one of the better teams in the American League East and the American League for that matter,” designated hitter Aubrey Huff said of the Red Sox.
While Baltimore’s offense took a step back Monday, Huff had another big game, as he hit his 27th home run and drove in three runs. Huff is 12-for-39 (.308) with five home runs and 14 RBIs in his last nine games.
Daniel Cabrera (8-7, 4.78) takes the ball for the Orioles after allowing three runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings of an 11-6 win over Cleveland on Thursday, but not factoring in the decision.
The right-hander is 1-1 with a 4.63 ERA in four starts against the Red Sox this season, and 2-10 with a 6.81 ERA in 15 career starts.
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