Matsuzaka dominates Phillies, 5-0
PHILADELPHIA — With his defense making stellar plays behind him on one hard-hit ball after another, Daisuke Matsuzaka moved closer and closer to a no-hitter.
And then Juan Castro sent a soft looper into shallow left field. Just like that, it was over.
Matsuzaka took a no-hitter into the eighth inning, losing his bid on Castro's bloop single with two outs, and the Boston Red Sox beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 5-0, last night.
"When I saw it fall in I was a little bit disappointed, but I didn't let it drag on and I focused on the next hitter," Matsuzaka said through a translator.
Boston made several outstanding plays on well-struck balls, but it was Castro's soft single over shortstop that finally dropped. Matsuzaka retired Shane Victorino to end the eighth and Daniel Bard worked a perfect ninth to finish the one-hitter.
"He was throwing a heck of a game. I was just trying to make contact," Castro said. "I was just fortunate to get a hit."
Castro, filling in for injured shortstop Jimmy Rollins, looped a 3-1 pitch just out of Marco Scutaro's reach. The shortstop lunged with his glove and tumbled to the turf, but the ball dropped cleanly in short left field.
"I think I was close but haven't seen the replay," Scutaro said, then added a joke: "I know the whole country of Japan hates me. Sorry, sorry. My bad."
Matsuzaka (3-1) struck out five and walked four in his longest outing of the year. The right-hander was making his fifth start after beginning the season on the disabled list with a neck strain.
"That was fun to watch," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "I thought he was great the whole game. That's as relaxed as we've seen him."
Matsuzaka has never pitched a shutout in the majors. His only complete game came on May 14, 2007, against Detroit, in his rookie season after coming over from Japan.
He got plenty of help from his defense in this one.
Chase Utley ripped a liner in the first inning, but was robbed of a hit on a leaping catch by Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Utley also drove the ball to deep left-center in the fourth, but Jeremy Hermida made a running catch at the base of the wall in front of the 374-foot sign.
Boston chased Philadelphia starter Kyle Kendrick (2-2) in the fifth with four runs on five hits, including RBI doubles by David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre. Kendrick went 4 2/3 innings, allowing five runs and eight hits.
ATHLETICS 1, GIANTS 0
Gio Gonzalez (5-3) retired his final 20 batters and host Oakland scored an unearned run to beat Matt Cain (2-4) and San Francisco.
An error by first baseman Aubrey Huff set up Coco Crisp's sacrifice fly in the third inning. Gonzalez (5-3) allowed two hits in eight innings.
TWINS 8, BREWERS 7, 12 INNINGS
Jason Kubel's sacrifice fly in the 12th lifted host Minnesota over Milwaukee.
Jesse Crain (1-0) picked up the victory for the Twins despite issuing a five-pitch walk to Prince Fielder — his fourth of the game — to start the 12th. Crain got the next two batters and struck out Jody Gerut looking to end the inning.
NATIONALS 7, ORIOLES 6
Adam Dunn's two-run single capped a sixth-inning rally that carried host Washington past Baltimore, who wasted an inside-the-park homer by Adam Jones.
Washington trailed 6-3 before scoring four runs in the sixth against starter Brad Bergesen and reliever Mark Hendrickson (1-2). Matt Capps worked the ninth for his major league-leading 16th save in 16 tries.
WHITE SOX 4, MARLINS 1
Alex Rios hit a two-run homer and Gavin Floyd pitched 6 1/3 sharp innings to help host Chicago beat Florida.
Floyd (2-4) allowed just one run and six hits. Bobby Jenks earned his seventh save.
ANGELS 10, CARDINALS 7
Scott Kazmir (3-4) allowed three runs in seven innings and Los Angeles backed him with 13 hits in a victory over host St. Louis.
Kyle Lohse (1-4) was knocked around for six runs in 3 1/3 innings.
ROCKIES 3, ROYALS 0
Jeff Francis (1-0) and three relievers combined on a six-hitter and Troy Tulowitzki homered to help Colorado beat host Kansas City.
Francis scattered five hits over 6 1/3 innings while walking two and striking out three. Tulowitzki broke up a scoreless pitching duel with a two-out, sixth-inning home run on the first pitch from right-hander Kyle Davies (3-3).
RAYS 4, ASTROS 2
Houston native Jeff Niemann (4-0) struck out five in seven efficient innings, Dioner Navarro had a two-run double and Tampa Bay beat host Houston.
Niemann (4-0) allowed four hits and one walk. He hasn't given up more than three earned runs in any of his nine starts.
REDS 6, INDIANS 4
Johnny Cueto (4-1) gave up four hits and two runs over six innings, and Laynce Nix homered for the third day in a row as host Cincinnati beat Cleveland.
The Reds moved into first place in the NL Central by a half-game over St. Louis.
DODGERS 6, TIGERS 4
Casey Blake homered for the third time in five games, Matt Kemp also hit a solo shot and Blake DeWitt had a two-run triple to lead host Los Angeles past Detroit.
Rookie John Ely (3-1) allowed two runs and eight hits through six-plus innings and struck out three for Los Angeles.
METS 5, YANKEES 3
Jason Bay tied a career high with four hits and David Wright added a pair of RBI singles, backing a sterling performance by Mike Pelfrey and helping the host Mets beat the Yankees.
Pelfrey (6-1) allowed one run and six hits in six innings for the Mets, who scored all their runs with two outs. Angel Pagan had three hits and pinch-hitter Alex Cora contributed a key RBI single in the sixth at Citi Field.
DIAMONDBACKS 8, BLUE JAYS 5
Chris Young drove in four runs and Edwin Jackson was stellar through his first seven innings to help host Arizona over Toronto.
Adam LaRoche added two RBIs, and Conor Jackson and Mark Reynolds each drove in a run for the Diamondbacks. Edwin Jackson (3-5) gave up five runs and six hits in 7 2/3 innings.
CUBS 5, RANGERS 4, 10 INNINGS
Pinch-hitter Mike Fontenot had the tiebreaking RBI single in the 10th and Chicago beat host Texas, ending the Rangers' five-game winning streak.
Darren O'Day (1-2) gave up hits to all three batters he faced in the 10th, when Tyler Colvin had a leadoff double before Kosuke Fukudome and Fontenot both had singles to right to make it 4-3. Another run scored on Derrek Lee's grounder with the bases loaded.
PADRES 2, MARINERS 1
Matt Stairs cracked a long solo homer off the facade of the second deck in the fourth inning, San Diego starter Clayton Richard wiggled free from the few jams he faced, and the Padres beat host Seattle.
Richard (4-2) threw seven innings, giving up seven hits and just one run.
BRAVES 4, PIRATES 2
Derek Lowe remained unbeaten against host Pittsburgh, and Melky Cabrera hit his first home run for Atlanta to help the Braves extend their season-best winning streak to five games.
After the start was delayed 92 minutes by rain, Lowe (6-4) needed 99 pitches to get through five innings but improved to 8-0 against the Pirates. He allowed two runs and five hits while walking four and striking out five.