Red Sox 1, Giants 0
BOSTON (AP)—The home run drought is over.
Ramirez ended a 50 at-bat homerless streak and Daisuke Matsuzaka had his best performance yet on Saturday to lead the Boston Red Sox to a 1-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants. Bonds went 0-for-3 with an intentional walk and remained stuck on 747 career homers, eight away from Hank Aaron’s record.
“I’ve faced many great batters on the way, but he certainly emitted a great aura about him,” Matsuzaka said through an interpreter. “That’s rare even to see among those great hitters.”
Matsuzaka (8-5) struck out eight in seven innings to win for the first time in four starts, holding the Giants to three hits and three walks. After intentionally walking Bonds with first base open in the first, Matsuzaka retired him on a fly ball to center in the fourth and then a groundout to a shifted infield with two on and nobody out in the sixth.
“I was able to reach inside myself and display a side of myself that I haven’t been able to show up to that point. And that said to me, hopefully, that I’m heading in a new and good direction,” said Matsuzaka, who called it his best performance of the year. “This is the first time that I was able to hold an opponent to zero runs and at the same time I was able to protect our slim and precious one-run lead.”
The Red Sox have scored just six runs in Matsuzaka’s last four outings, and two or fewer runs in eight of their last 11 games overall. But Matsuzaka left the game with a shutout for the first time since the Red Sox paid $103 million to bring him in from Japan in the offseason.
“I was impressed by everybody that pitched today,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “Daisuke was really good, and on a day when he had to be every bit as good as he was.”
Hideki Okajima pitched the eighth, allowing the first two Giants batters to reach before getting Bonds on a called third strike. Jonathan Papelbon pitched a perfect ninth for his 16th save for Boston, which has won six of its last nine and 12 of their last 13 interleague series.
First-place Boston remained 8 1/2 games ahead of the Yankees in the AL East.
The Red Sox didn’t have much success against Matt Cain (2-7), who also allowed just three hits in seven innings. But one of them was Ramirez’s 44th interleague homer—tying him for third all-time with Carlos Delgado.
“Don’t look at that record. He’s a good pitcher,” Francona said.
Cain struck out one, walked three and fell to 0-4 with two no-decisions in his last six starts since May 13. The Giants have lost 12 of 14 games Cain has started and 15 of their last 21 overall.
“He pitched a great game. He threw a terrific game. He had some tough luck,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “For some reason, we have trouble getting him some runs. We had some great opportunities, but just couldn’t get that tying run across.”
Bonds hit his 747th career homer on Monday—just his second since May 8. Ramirez hadn’t hit one since May 28. But he put a line drive into the Monster Seats in the fourth inning for the 479th homer of his career.
Neither of them was available for comment after the game, with Bonds ducking out a side door of the visitor’s clubhouse with his security and publicist.
Much of the vitriol that was directed at Bonds on Friday night for his first-ever game at Fenway Park was absent on Saturday. A few fans waved asterisks at the would-be home run king, with a meek and brief chant of “Steroids!” breaking out in the eighth.
The closest Bonds came to a homer was on the first pitch in the fourth inning, when he hit a long foul ball into the right-field grandstand; he flew out to center on the next pitch.
Giants SS Omar Vizquel made a nice over-the-shoulder basket catch in shallow center to retire Kevin Youkilis in the second. … Boston SS Julio Lugo was given the day off. He is 5-for-40 in his last 11 games. … Jim Thome leads all batters with interleague homers with 52, and Ken Griffey Jr. hit two on Saturday to give him 46. … It was the first time since July 23, 1963, that Fenway Park and Wrigley Field each hosted 1-0 games.