B.J. Upton homers as Tampa Bay beats Dice-K in 2-1 win over Boston
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—B.J. Upton made the most of a rare mistake from Dice-K.
“A lot of his pitches look the same,” said Upton, who had struck out four times and was hitless in seven previous at-bats against the Japanese right-hander. “He’s got that good slider and change up, and I think he kept us off balance for most of the time that we’ve faced him.
“He just left a pitch up.”
Edwin Jackson (4-12) overcame control problems to limit Boston to one run in six innings. He allowed five hits, five walks and struck out three. The Red Sox, who won the first two games of the series, stranded 14 runners in the game.
“We just didn’t score any runs,” Varitek said. “Those missed opportunities I’ll take on my shoulders, because I left a lot of guys on base.”
Tampa Bay is 3-9 this year against Boston, which began the day six games ahead of the New York Yankees in the division. All three of the Devil Rays’ victories have come against Matsuzaka (13-10), who has had two runs or less of support in 12 of his last 16 starts.
“It’s not like you can always count on run support,” Matsuzaka said through an interpreter. “We’re not going to score a lot of runs day-in and day-out, but I think my mind-set going into a game is even if we hit a lull in that offensive support, I’m going to pitch well and hold them to as few runs as I can.”
Boston led 1-0 in the sixth when Carlos Pena drew a one-out walk. Upton followed with a homer to right, his 18th of the season.
“I don’t feel particularly stressed out by the fact that games haven’t turned out in our favor,” Matsuzaka said. “Anything I do feel frustrated about is really about my own pitching.”
Josh Wilson singled in the third inning for the only other hit allowed by Matsuzaka. The right-hander, who is 1-3 in four starts against the lowly Devil Rays, struck out eight and walked four.
Boston hasn’t won three straight since July 26-28, and dropped to 23-17 since the All-Star break.
“I felt that was the key inning,” Jackson said. “To come out of it with only one run given up, it definitely felt good. After that I told myself, ‘All right, you got out of that with this team, this lineup—you definitely have to keep battling and keep your team in the game.”’
Pedroia, who was hit on his left elbow by a pitch from Jackson, stayed in to run the bases but was replaced in the bottom of the third by Alex Cora. X-rays on the elbow were negative.
“It just hit me in the right spot,” said Pedroia, who was day-to-day. “I really couldn’t bend my arm much. Basically, my whole arm went numb, so we took some X-rays to be safe. I don’t think I’ve ever been hit that hard before.”
Boston also failed to capitalize in the fourth when Eric Hinske walked, stole second and went to third on a throwing error by Devil Rays catcher Josh Paul. He was stranded when Julio Lugo grounded out and Cora flew out.
Ortiz doubled with one out in the fifth, but was thrown out at the plate by Upton on Lowell’s single to center.
The Devil Rays have not beaten any other pitcher this season more than once. … Tampa Bay RF Delmon Young was out of the starting lineup for just the second time this season. He was a defensive replacement in the seventh and has appeared in all 126 games this year. … Lowell has 85 RBIs while playing third this season, the most by a Boston third baseman since Wade Boggs had 88 in 1987.