Matsuzaka, Pedroia, Bay lead Boston to 8-0 win
BOSTON (AP)—Dustin Pedroia had four hits, three runs, two stolen bases and one walk. Ho hum.
It was just another multi-hit game for last year’s AL rookie of the year, his league-leading 52nd of the season. Going 4-for-4, he raised his batting average to .388 in the last 15 games and .322 for the season. And he set a Red Sox single-season record for second basemen with 104 runs.
Then Daisuke Matsuzaka’s performance shouldn’t surprise him either.
Matsuzaka (16-2) gave up only two hits in eight innings in his most efficient outing of a season, lowering his ERA to 2.82.
“It’s getting to the point in the season where we’re heading into September and he seems to have a lot left,” manager Terry Francona said.
The White Sox, who were rested after having Thursday off and began the day with a 1 1/2 -game lead over Minnesota in the AL Central, did very little on Friday.
“We didn’t hit, we didn’t play defense and we didn’t pitch,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. “It felt like we had another off day.”
The Red Sox play 19 of their remaining 28 games at Fenway Park, the most home games of any team. They have the third best home record in the majors, and already lead the AL wild-card race. The Red Sox remained 4 1/2 games behind AL East leader Tampa Bay, which beat Baltimore 14-3.
“We’ve had a lot of 10-day road trips this year,” Pedroia said. “To not have anymore, to be done with them, is definitely nice.”
Coming off a 6-3 trip and with Josh Beckett placed on the disabled list, Boston used Matsuzaka in his place. He walked two, struck out seven and threw 104 pitches.
“I don’t think that just reaching that number in and of itself has that much meaning,” Matsuzaka said through a translator.
Bay’s three-run double in the sixth put Boston ahead 7-0 and gave him 27 RBIs in 25 games since a three-way trade on July 31 that brought him from Pittsburgh and sent Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“We were up 4-0 and it was nice just to put a little stamp on it, especially with the way Dice-K had been pitching,” Bay said. “He was the story tonight.”
So was Pedroia, who broke Bobby Doerr’s team record for a second baseman of 103 runs, set in 1950. The two met last season and spoke briefly.
“He didn’t seem like a guy that would be mad” about losing the record, Pedroia said with a laugh.
Guillen wasn’t very happy about a pitching staff that allowed 15 hits, three of them by David Ortiz.
“I worry more about Pedroia than I do about Big Papi right now,” he said. “Right now that kid is the key to the ballclub.”
The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead in the first off Javier Vazquez (10-12) when they loaded the bases with no outs on a walk and two singles then scored when Kevin Youkilis hit into a forceout at second base.
They made it 3-0 in the fifth when Pedroia singled, stole second and scored on Ortiz’s double. Ortiz took third on a single by Youkilis and scored on a double by Mark Kotsay, playing his first game at Fenway since being acquired from Atlanta on Wednesday.
The Red Sox added four runs in the sixth with a huge assist from Chicago catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
He dropped leadoff hitter Alex Cora’s foul pop behind home plate for an error and Cora capitalized with a double. Had Pierzynski caught it, Vazquez might have gotten out of the inning quickly because he retired the next two batters.
Instead, Cora took third on a wild pitch and Pedroia walked. Horacio Ramirez then walked Ortiz, loading the bases. D.J Carrasco came in and got ahead of Youkilis with a 1-2 count but hit him with the next pitch, forcing in a run.
Bay, who struck out three times Friday, then hit his bases-clearing double off the left-center field wall that just eluded center fielder Nick Swisher.
The Red Sox made it 8-0 in the eighth when Pedroia led off with a single, took second on Ortiz’s single and scored on Youkilis’ double.
Boston CF Coco Crisp was scratched from the lineup with flu-like symptoms. … The Red Sox placed Beckett and 1B Sean Casey on the 15-day disabled list and purchased the contract of C David Ross from Triple-A Pawtucket. … Chicago lost its second straight game after winning three in a row. … Michael Bowden is scheduled to make his first major league start for Boston on Saturday night.