August 19, 2008: Baltimore, MD - On a night in which he struggled to get through five innings, Daisuke Matsuzaka got offensive support from an unlikely source: batterymate Jason Varitek.
Matsuzaka won his fourth straight start, the Boston Red Sox got homers from Varitek and Kevin Youkilis in a 7-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night.
Matsuzaka (15-2) gave up two runs, six hits and five walks. The right-hander failed to retire the side in order but stranded nine runners, including five in scoring position, before being lifted after 105 pitches. Whether I allow hits or I allow walks, I always think that the important thing is not to allow the runners to score," Matsuzaka said through an interpreter. "That's the way I thought last year and it's still the same this year."
It was Matsuzaka's 30th career win, most ever by a Japanese-born pitcher in his first two major league seasons. Hideo Nomo had 29 in 1995-96. "He finds a way to win. That's all you can ask from a starting pitcher," teammate Dustin Pedroia said. "He's not giving in and we know that. Sometimes it's frustrating, but it keeps you on your toes."
Varitek's second homer in two games put Boston up 3-0 in the second inning. The drive enabled Boston's captain to become the first Red Sox catcher to hit at least 10 home runs in nine seasons, breaking a tie with Carlton Fisk.