Wednesday, April 02, 2008
SOX SQUEEZE ONE OUT
A great start from Daisuke, excellent bullpen work, and the hitting of Kevin Youkilis propelled the Sox to a 2-1 victory over Oakland on Opening Day 2.0.
Dice-K and the Sox fell behind 1-0 when Jack Cust - who has one of hose baseball names you just don't see anywhere else - hit a solo shot in the 2nd. But Ellsbury tied it up in the 5th with an RBI single that knocked in Youkilis. The Sox took the lead in the top of the 6th when Youkilis tripled and was sent home by a Varitek double.
Apart from the homerun, Matsuzaka was impeccable. He only allowed 2 hits, 0 walks, and struck out 9 in his 6.2 innings. Okajima relieved him and was solid, allowing a 2 out walk in the 7th, and a leadoff single in the 8th that was harmless. Papelbon was AMAZING, coming into the game with 2 outs in the 8th and retiring all four men he faced, three of them via strikeout.
This was the formula we saw with the Sox last year. Decent and timely hitting creating a win thanks to starting pitching going deep into the game, and the frontline relievers closing things out. When the Sox only have to go to Okajima and Papelbon in the late innings, they are essentially unbeatable. And that is why Daisuke Matsuzaka is the winner of the Man of the Game Award for Game #3.
The Red Sox look to win the hiccuped four game series tomorrow night when Jon Lester faces Rich Harden...again.
AP Photo/Ben Margot