Boston at Arizona

W: R. Johnson (4-2) L: D. Matsuzaka (7-5)
HR: BOS - None   ARI - None

Big Unit, D-Backs best Dice-K's Red Sox to salvage series

CBS wire reports

PHOENIX -- Randy Johnson knew he had to pitch well to beat Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Johnson allowed one run in six innings and three relievers did the rest as the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the Boston Red Sox 5-1 Sunday afternoon to salvage the final game of a three-game series.

Matsuzaka (7-5) gave up two runs in six innings, and that was too many against the stingy Diamondbacks staff.

"I don't know if that was his best game, but I had to throw my best game, or at least match zeros with him," said Johnson (4-2), who won his fourth straight decision.

Carlos Quentin doubled home the eventual winning run in the sixth inning, and Eric Byrnes had three hits as the Diamondbacks moved within percentage points of first-place San Diego in the NL West.

"It was good to get this one," Quentin said. "No one wants to get swept at home."

Boston's first regular-season visit to the desert attracted three big, boisterous crowds. Sunday's crowd of 46,622 was split between members of Red Sox Nation and home fans decked out in the Diamondbacks' new "Sedona Red."

Asked about the ongoing chants of "Let's go Red Sox," Johnson grinned and said, "That wasn't Sedona Red up there? I thought it was Sedona Red."

The Red Sox are used to playing in front of big crowds. But they unraveled in the eighth, when the Diamondbacks scored three runs to blow the game open.

After Brendan Donnelly gave up a single and Javier Lopez gave up a walk, Mike Timlin picked up Quentin's bunt and threw it down the right field line for an error that allowed two runs to score.

"I just threw it away," said Timlin, who made his first appearance after more than month on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis. "Bad error. There's really no excuse."

Chris Young added an RBI single to make it 5-1.

Boston manager Terry Francona stacked his lineup with seven righties and two switch-hitters. But it didn't matter against the 43-year-old Johnson.

"I don't think you're going to see a lot of guys saying, 'Randy Johnson pitching, he's getting older, let's run down to the ballpark, let's jump in the batter's box,"' Francona said. "He's got good stuff, had it for a long time."

Johnson gave up four hits, walked three and struck out nine, throwing a season-high 113 pitches.

"We were prepared to take him out after 100, 102 (pitches), but he felt good and went back out there," manager Bob Melvin said. "R.J. gave us a little bit more than we actually needed today."

Jailen Peguero, Tony Pena and Jose Valverde shut the Red Sox out over the final three innings to preserve Johnson's 284th career victory. Johnson won his fourth straight decision.

"I've pitched against the Red Sox enough that I know they're pretty explosive," said Johnson, who improved to 16-7 lifetime against Boston. "But I had a game plan, stuck to it and made my pitches when I had to."

Johnson fell behind 1-0 on Mike Lowell's RBI double in the fourth. Down 1-2 in the count, Lowell fouled off three pitches before driving a 3-2 delivery down the left field line, easily scoring Manny Ramirez from first.

Matsuzaka (7-5) walked two leadoff hitters, and both scored.

"That seems like the usual pattern for me," Matsuzaka said through a translator.

In the fourth, Orlando Hudson walked, stole second and scored on Stephen Drew's single. In the sixth, Conor Jackson walked and scored on Quentin's one-out double to center field.

Matsuzaka allowed two runs on four hits in six innings, walking four and striking out nine.

"Our team lost, but overall I feel like I'm improving," said Matsuzaka, who lost his third straight decision. "The quality of my pitches is getting better."


  • Matsuzaka struck out twice in his first major league plate appearances. "I asked him if he wanted to hit cleanup," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "He said, 'Randy Johnson, no, no.' This might not be a true test." Red Sox fans gave Matsuzaka a standing ovation when he fouled off a pitch before striking out in the fourth.
  • Arizona 1B Conor Jackson was charged with an error when umpires ruled that he obstructed Coco Crisp during a first-inning rundown. Crisp had been picked off first by Johnson.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Big Unit nearly matches Dice-K pitch for pitch, as both strike out nine in six innings.  (AP)
Big Unit nearly matches Dice-K pitch for pitch, as both strike out nine in six innings. (AP)

Players of the Game

R. Johnson
IP 6.0
H 4
ER 1
BB 3
K 9

C. Jackson
AB 2
R 2
H 1
HR 0

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February 24, 2017
2017 AL East Preview: Boston Red Sox (2:46)
Boston Red Sox
Julio Lugo, SS5010021 .213
Coco Crisp, CF5010013 .224
Kevin Youkilis, 1B4010011 .336
Manny Ramirez, LF1100311 .291
Jason Varitek, C4000034 .267
Mike Lowell, 3B4011001 .312
Wily Mo Pena, RF3010001 .241
   a- J.D. Drew, PH1000000 .244
Dustin Pedroia, 2B3010111 .316
Daisuke Matsuzaka, P2000023 .000
   b- Alex Cora, PH0000000 .287
    Brendan Donnelly, P0000000 .000
    Javier Lopez, P0000000 .000
    Mike Timlin, P0000000 .000
   c- Eric Hinske, PH0000100 .177
a-flied out for Pena in the 9th
b-hit a sacrifice bunt for Matsuzaka in the 7th
c-walked for Timlin in the 9th
2B - Mike Lowell (18, R. Johnson)
SH - Alex Cora (4)
RBI - Mike Lowell (47)
Team LOB - 10
E - Mike Lowell (11, Misplayed grounder), Mike Timlin (1, Throwing), Jason Varitek (5, Throwing)
Boston Red Sox
Daisuke Matsuzaka (L,7-5) 6422490 4.52
Brendan Donnelly 1210000 3.05
Javier Lopez0010100 3.21
Mike Timlin 1110110 5.59
Pitches-Strikes - Daisuke Matsuzaka 120-78, Brendan Donnelly 14-10, Javier Lopez 6-2, Mike Timlin 19-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Daisuke Matsuzaka 3-7, Brendan Donnelly 1-2, Mike Timlin 1-2
Batters Faced - Daisuke Matsuzaka 27, Brendan Donnelly 5, Javier Lopez 1, Mike Timlin 6
Arizona Diamondbacks
Eric Byrnes, LF5030002 .319
Chris Young, CF5011013 .253
Orlando Hudson, 2B3100223 .291
Chad Tracy, 3B-1B4000034 .299
Conor Jackson, 1B2210200 .283
    Jose Valverde, P0000000 .000
Stephen Drew, SS3111101 .240
Carlos Quentin, RF3111010 .217
Chris Snyder, C3000114 .216
Randy Johnson, P2000013 .067
   a- Tony Clark, PH1000011 .226
    Jailen Peguero, P0000000 .000
    Tony Pena, P0000000 .333
   b- Mark Reynolds, PH-3B1000002 .318
a-struck out for R. Johnson in the 6th
b-popped out for Pena in the 8th
2B - Eric Byrnes (13, Matsuzaka), Carlos Quentin (12, Matsuzaka)
SH - Carlos Quentin (1)
RBI - Chris Young (23), Stephen Drew (26), Carlos Quentin (23)
2-OUT RBI - Chris Young (8)
SB - Eric Byrnes (12, 3rd base off Matsuzaka/Varitek), Orlando Hudson (3, 2nd base off Matsuzaka/Varitek)
Team LOB - 10
E - Conor Jackson (5, Interference)
Arizona Diamondbacks
Randy Johnson (W,4-2) 6411390 3.52
Jailen Peguero (H,1) 1100000 0.00
Tony Pena (H,13) 1000120 2.67
Jose Valverde 1100100 3.33
IBB - Pedroia by Randy Johnson
Pitches-Strikes - Randy Johnson 113-71, Jailen Peguero 10-7, Tony Pena 20-11, Jose Valverde 24-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Randy Johnson 6-3, Jailen Peguero 2-1, Jose Valverde 1-2
Batters Faced - Randy Johnson 25, Jailen Peguero 4, Tony Pena 4, Jose Valverde 5
Game Information
Attendance - 46622
Game Time - 3:41
Temperature - 75
Umpires - Home - Chris Guccione, First Base - Chad Fairchild, Second Base - Mike Reilly, Third Base - Jeff Kellogg