|Chi. White Sox (43-51) «||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||1||0||4||6||0|
The White Sox catcher went 3-for-4 with three RBI on Thursday night -- twice delivering RBI singles after Matsuzaka issued multiple walks -- and the Chicago White Sox beat the plummeting Boston Red Sox 4-2.
Javier Vazquez (7-5) allowed two runs, nine hits and two walks, striking out five in 6 1/3 innings to win his fourth consecutive decision. Paul Konerko hit his 21st homer for the White Sox, and Bobby Jenks pitched the ninth for his 26th save.
Matsuzaka (11-7) allowed three runs and two hits while striking out six. But he bunched his walks together -- two in the first and three in the sixth -- and both times Pierzynski was there to drive in the runners.
"He pitched himself into a box where a single meant a few runs," Boston manager Terry Francona said.
The Red Sox have lost three in a row, five of seven and eight of their last 11 since sitting a season-high 12 games up in the AL East. The New York Yankees, who lost 3-2 to the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday, remained seven games back in their increasingly realistic quest for a 10th consecutive division title.
Boston trailed 3-2 in the seventh when Dustin Pedroia singled with one out -- his third hit of the game -- and White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen pulled Vazquez so lefty Matt Thornton could face David Ortiz. Ortiz singled, bringing out righty Ryan Bukvich to face Ramirez.
Ramirez went sprawling to the dirt on the first pitch, and on a 1-1 count launched the ball to the deepest part of ballpark. But Owens chased it down in the Fenway triangle, reaching out to grab it a few yards in front of the 420-foot marker and just one step from the bullpen fence.
"I know Manny hits a lot of homers that way where he hit it," Owens said.
Kevin Youkilis, who also saw an early brushback pitch from Bukvich, struck out to end the inning.
Konerko hit a solo homer in the eighth off Hideki Okajima -- the first run allowed by the Japanese rookie in 17 innings. Okajima had not allowed a homer since John Buck hit one on the first pitch he threw in the major leagues, on opening day.
After the start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 56 minutes, Matsuzaka retired the first two batters and then issued two walks, followed by Pierzynski's RBI single. Matsuzaka got Jermaine Dye on a grounder to short to end the inning, the first of nine consecutive batters he retired before three consecutive walks to start the sixth.
With the bases loaded, Pierzynski singled home two runs to chase Matsuzaka and give Chicago a 3-2 lead.
Pedroia then got caught between first and second on his RBI single, and Crisp broke for the plate. Crisp was barely tagged out by Pierzynski, the catcher, while diving to get back to third base, ending the inning.
|Dice-K's inconsistent outing reflects the difficult stretch for Terry Francona's slumping BoSox. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Chicago White Sox|
|Jerry Owens, CF||5||0||1||0||0||1||0||.241|
|Tadahito Iguchi, 2B||4||1||0||0||1||3||1||.255|
|Jim Thome, DH||2||2||0||0||3||1||0||.288|
|Paul Konerko, 1B||3||1||1||1||2||0||2||.270|
|A.J. Pierzynski, C||4||0||3||3||0||1||0||.260|
|Jermaine Dye, RF||3||0||0||0||1||1||5||.227|
|Rob Mackowiak, LF||4||0||1||0||0||2||2||.282|
|Josh Fields, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||1||4||.234|
|Juan Uribe, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||3||.215|
|HR - Paul Konerko (21, Okajima)|
|RBI - Paul Konerko (58), A.J. Pierzynski 3 (32)|
|2-OUT RBI - A.J. Pierzynski (10)|
|SB - Jerry Owens (9, 2nd base off Snyder/Varitek)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|Outfield Assists - Jermaine Dye 1|
|DP - Konerko-Uribe|
|PB - A.J. Pierzynski (7)|
|Chicago White Sox|
|Javier Vazquez (W,7-5)||6.1||9||2||2||2||5||0||3.73|
|Ryan Bukvich (H,2)||1.2||1||0||0||0||1||0||4.11|
|Bobby Jenks (S,26)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||3.79|
|Pitches-Strikes - Javier Vazquez 109-69, Matt Thornton 4-4, Ryan Bukvich 16-11, Bobby Jenks 13-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Javier Vazquez 3-10, Ryan Bukvich 1-2, Bobby Jenks 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Javier Vazquez 29, Matt Thornton 1, Ryan Bukvich 5, Bobby Jenks 3|
|Boston Red Sox|
|Coco Crisp, CF||4||0||1||0||1||1||0||.266|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B||5||0||3||1||0||1||2||.321|
|David Ortiz, DH||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.320|
|Manny Ramirez, LF||4||0||2||0||0||0||1||.294|
|Kevin Youkilis, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||2||5||.309|
|Mike Lowell, 3B||4||1||2||0||0||0||1||.308|
|Jason Varitek, C||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.270|
|Wily Mo Pena, RF||3||0||0||0||1||1||1||.205|
|Julio Lugo, SS||4||1||1||1||0||0||1||.218|
|RBI - Dustin Pedroia (29), Julio Lugo (43)|
|2-OUT RBI - Dustin Pedroia (9)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|Boston Red Sox|
|Daisuke Matsuzaka (L,11-7)||5||2||3||3||6||6||0||3.99|
|Pitches-Strikes - Daisuke Matsuzaka 109-63, Manny Delcarmen 20-13, Javier Lopez 21-17, Hideki Okajima 13-10, Kyle Snyder 19-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Daisuke Matsuzaka 6-3, Manny Delcarmen 1-1, Javier Lopez 1-0, Hideki Okajima 1-1, Kyle Snyder 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Daisuke Matsuzaka 23, Manny Delcarmen 4, Javier Lopez 3, Hideki Okajima 5, Kyle Snyder 5|
|Attendance - 36913|
|Game Time - 3:34|
|Temperature - 66|
|Umpires - Home - Tim McClelland, First Base - Marty Foster, Second Base - Field Culbreth, Third Base - Paul Schrieber|