Finally, the Boston Red Sox (51-31) lineup returned the favor to Daisuke Matsuzaka giving him run support against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (33-49) unlike in his last start against the Seattle Mariners.
With an almost identical stat line from his last start against the Mariners, Matsuzaka went 8 innings pitched, four hits, zero runs, one walk, and nine strikeouts against Tampa Bay, but got the win in this one improving his record to 10-5.
Scott Kazmir (5-5) who suffered the loss had a bit of a rough outting only going 6.0 innings, on six hits, four runs, three earned, three walks, and six strikeouts. The bulk of those runs batted in were from a rather unlikely source this season, Julio Lugo.
Lugo broke his 0-33 slump with a two-RBI single up the middle scoring Kevin Youkilis and Mike Lowell. Jason Varitek grounded out to second baseman Ty Wigginton on what looked like an easy double-play ball, but was botched by Wigginton giving the Red Sox a 1-0 lead prior to Lugo’s at bat.
Varitek added a sacrifice-fly in the bottom of the sixth off of a Kazmir slider bringing the lead to 4-0.
Lugo notched his second hit of the night off of D-Rays relief pitcher Jason Hammel in the bottom of the seventh inning. Lugo ended the nigth going 2-3 with a strikeout.
Aside from Lugo getting cheers for snapping his slump it was all about Dice-K. Within his nine strikeout performance coming against the worse strikeout team in the league, Matsuzaka, struck out his fellow countryman Akinori Iwamura three times in the game including striking him out looking twice.
Jonathan Papelbon came in to finish the ninth inning and left with a blemish giving up a homerun to former Red Sox player and current D-Rays first baseman Carlos Pena that barerly got around Pesky Pole. Papelbon finished off the night by getting Greg Norton to pop out to third baseman Mike Lowell.