July 23. SEATTLE, WA -- Even though Matsuzuka had to leave in the eighth inning, he continued his masterful pitching away from Fenway Park, as the Red Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 4-2 on Tuesday night. Matsuzaka (11-1) was dominant for the first seven innings, scattering two hits before Seattle finally got to him in the eighth, ending any hopes for the second complete game of his career.
Matsuzaka's scoreless innings streak ended at 24 1/3. Dice-K's countryman, Ichiro Suzuki, lined an RBI double over center fielder Coco Crisp with one out in the eighth for the first run allowed by Matsuzaka since the first inning against Tampa Bay on July 2 when Evan Longoria hit a two-out RBI single. Matsuzaka had not allowed an earned run in his previous two starts.
"Facing off against Ichiro I wanted to make good pitches to good spots," Matsuzaka said.
Jose Lopez followed the double with an RBI single to score Suzuki and knock out Matsuzaka, who walked three and struck out six. Hideki Okajima got the final two outs of the eighth and Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth for his 30th save in 34 chances. "If our starters get us deep like that we should be OK," Francona said. "Sometimes your pitching gives your offense time to kind of get straightened out. If we get deep in games on a consistent basis we should be fine."
Boston's offense got a jolt from the start thanks to J.D. Drew. His 18th homer sent with two outs in the first sent Matsuzaka to the mound with a 1-0 lead.