Red Sox 10, Rangers 6
Matsuzaka left the game after five innings because of nausea. He earned his seventh win of the season anyway as the Boston Red Sox beat the Texas Rangers 10-6 Friday night.
Boston manager Terry Francona said Matsuzaka started feeling bad in the second inning and struggled through the five innings needed for him to win his fourth straight start.
“He showed a lot staying out there and pitching,” Francona said. “He gave us five. He gave up five but they got to our bullpen later because he was able to stay out there.”
Matsuzaka—who Francona says will have “the most covered case of intestinal turmoil ever” didn’t come out for the sixth inning and was relieved by Kyle Snyder.
Matsuzaka (7-2) was not seen in the clubhouse after the game and he spoke only through a statement.
“I tried my best to take the team as deep into the game as possible to fulfill my responsibility as the starter,” Matsuzaka said in the statement. “I regret that I ended up being a burden on my teammates (Friday). I’ll do my best to prepare for my next start.”
Boston regained the lead by scoring twice in the fifth before Matsuzaka ran into more trouble in the bottom half of the frame.
He escaped by getting Sammy Sosa to ground into a double play and striking out Frank Catalanotto to end the inning.
The Red Sox added four in the sixth to lift Matsuzaka to a win in his fourth straight start.
Matsuzaka gave up five runs and seven hits and matched his shortest outing of the season. He is tied for the league lead with seven wins along with teammate Josh Beckett, the Angels’ John Lackey and the Braves’ John Smoltz.
Sosa faced the Japanese sensation for the first time ever and went 1-for-4 with an RBI double and a strikeout in his pursuit to become the fifth player ever to hit 600 home runs. Sosa has 598.
Sosa did not answer questions from the media after the game.
After Texas’ big inning, Boston seized the lead for good in the fifth against reliever Wes Littleton (0-1).
The Red Sox added four more runs in the sixth off of Texas reliever Frank Francisco.
“One through nine our lineup was chipping away,” Francona said. “It’s a good formula for winning.”
Texas starter Brandon McCarthy left the game after only two innings with a blister on his right middle finger. He walked four and gave up four runs on just one hit.
“It’s pretty annoying,” McCarthy said. “It’s a tough one to swallow. But the job is to move on and get better.”
McCarthy was undone by a 47-pitch second inning in which he walked the first three batters of the frame.
After Crisp walked to reload the bases, David Pedroia lined a single to center to bring home two runs and give Boston a 3-0 lead. It was the only hit Boston had in the inning.
Crisp then scored on an unusual fielder’s choice. Lugo hit a fly ball that Sosa dropped in right field, but he recovered to throw Pedroia out at second.
Littleton relieved McCarthy to start the third.
After a one hour, 57-minute rain delay, Matsuzaka started sharp as he struck out four in the first three innings.
Sosa’s double brought Texas within 4-1. Catalanotto followed with a two-run homer—his fourth of the season— to bring Texas within 4-3. Ramon Vazquez then hit his third home run of the season to cap the inning.
“We handled (Matsuzaka) well,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “He’s a very good pitcher and we did a good job of making him throw strikes.”
Lofton scored on a wild pitch in the seventh.
Matsuzaka walked three after not walking a batter in his previous 17 innings. … Sosa and Texas 2B Ian Kinsler each misplayed foul pops in the first inning.