Sox pitchers retire last 13 of 14 Minnesota hitters to take game two of the four game set


Sox pitchers retire last 13 of 14 Minnesota hitters to take game two of the four game set

(May 10, 2008) –No folks you were not seeing your five year old nephew on the mound in the third, when Daisuke Matsuzaka let a change up slip out of his hand on 1-2 pitch to Twins catcher Joe Mauer.

After coming off a start in Detroit where he allowed eight walks, it certainly looked as if tonight would be a repeat of Cinco de Mayo following three walks in the first two innings of the game. One of those walks was to centerfielder Carlos Gomez with the bases loaded to force home Michael Cuddyer with the tying run. But Matsuzaka would settle down to strike out seven Twin batters in seven innings of work allowing just two runs on six hits.

Until the top of the ninth, all the Sox runs were on solo shots into the left field grandstand. First baseman Kevin Youkilis got the solo homerun parade started with his eighth round tripper of the season in the top of the second inning for the short-lived 1-0 lead. With that homerun, Youkilis is now tied with Tampa Bay’s Carlos Pena for the American League lead in homerun and the outright lead in the Sox clubhouse.

The Twins would score again in the top of the fifth inning starting with a lead off double down the left field line by second baseman Matt Tolbert. Tolbert came around to score on a single into center by first baseman Justin Morneau. But it would be the last time Minnesota would lead in the game and the last time, until the ninth, a batter reached base against Red Sox pitching.

In the top of the seventh inning, Coco Crisp proved he should be the starting center fielder with a lead off homerun, off Twins starter Glen Perkins, to tie the game at two a piece. Shortstop Jed Lowrie followed Crisp’s lead with his first major league homerun to put the Sox up for good and chase Perkins out of the game. Perkins exited the game after pitching six innings allowing three runs on nine hits while striking out three.

Sox third baseman Mike Lowell would tack on another run the next inning with his third homerun of the season off Minnesota reliever Brian Bass to give the Sox the two-run advantage. But before the game was over, Lowrie would appeal himself more to the Red Sox front office that he deserves to stay once Alex Cora returns from the D.L. The Sox rookie shortstop lined his third hit of the night into right field to lead of the top of the ninth and would score a base hit up the middle by second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

Closer Jonathan Papelbon came on in relief of Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima in the bottom of the ninth. Coming off two blown saves Papelbon was facing the bottom of the Twins line up. Red Sox pitchers would combine to retire 12 consecutive hitters before last night’s hero for the Twins, Mike Lamb reached on Jason Varitek’s error on pop fly with two outs in the ninth. But Papelbon ended up striking out pinch hitter, Craig Monroe to end the game.

Tim Wakefield goes to the mound in tomorrow’s Mother’s Day matinee and looks to win his for all the mothers out there. He is coming off his third win of the season where he and Mike Timlin combined to throw a two-hit shut out against the Detroit Tigers. In the win, the Sox knuckleballer unusually used more fastballs and curves than he has done in previous games.

Against the Twins, in his career Wakefield is 13-4 with two saves and an ERA of 4.00 with 106 strike outs and 41 walks in 24 games. He will be opposed by Twins starter Nick Blackburn who is making his eighth start of the season and is looking for his third win of the season.

Blackburn is 2-2 on the season with a 3.65 ERA, a 1.40 WHIP and 20 strike outs. He is coming of a 7-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox in ChiTown. In the loss he went six innings allowing four runs – three earned – on six hits while walking three and striking out one. The Sox of the red variety will try to make it a burn Blackburn with double losses to the “Sox.”

WIN: Daisuke Matsuzaka (6-0)

LOSS: Glen Perkins (0-1)

SAVE: Jonathan Papelbon (11)


Game Notes:

Coco Crisp’s homerun in the top of the seventh was his first of the year and was back-to-back with Jed Lowrie’s first homerun of his major league career.

Even with Glen Perkins, the left hander, on the mound, Jacoby Ellsbury still gets the start in right field giving J.D. Drew the night off. Also with the night off is Julio Lugo, who is undergoing tests for a concussion he received last night when he collided with second baseman Matt Tolbert last night trying to break up a double play. Jed Lowrie will make the start at shortstop in Lugo’s absence.

This day in Red Sox history: May 10, 1999

It was nine years ago today that shortstop Nomar Garciaparra hit two grand slams in a game against the Seattle Mariners and drove in 10 out of the 12 runs the Sox scored in their 12-8 victory over the Mariners.

The 3 Stars of the Game:

  1. Daisuke Matsuzaka, BOSTON --- 7IP, 6H, 2ER, 3BB, 7K
  1. Jed Lowrie, BOSTON --- 3-4 Double, Homerun, RBI
  1. Justin Morneau, MINNESOTA --- 2-4 2 Singles

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