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Boston (24-15) «0100002115120
Minnesota (18-17)010010000272

Dice-K hits 6-0 thanks to some long ball help from BoSox

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Has Daisuke Matsuzaka's mythical gyroball finally made an appearance stateside?

The Japanese right-hander had a pitch slip out of his hand in the third inning and land about five feet from the mound before rolling to the plate, one of the few things he did wrong in Boston 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday night.

"That's that gyroball," manager Terry Francona cracked. "It's finally emerged. That was interesting."

With help from an unexpected power surge at the bottom of the lineup, Matsuzaka (6-0) remained undefeated, giving up two runs and six hits in seven innings with seven strikeouts.

When he came over from Japan before last season, there were reports that he had a gyroball -- a pitch that spins like a football and can break more than a foot from top to bottom -- among at least four other pitches in his repertoire.

Matsuzaka even released an album of his favorite songs last summer with an original track dubbed "Gyro Ball," but that was the closest anybody came to seeing one in his rookie season in Beantown.

Maybe Dice-K was just waiting for the right moment.

On Saturday night, he twice fanned Joe Mauer, who entered the game with an AL-leading .343 batting average, and used that gyroball to "set up" the first strikeout. After the ball trickled to catcher Jason Varitek, Matsuzaka came right back with a fastball to strike Mauer out.

"Nice changeup, huh?" Matsuzaka quipped.

After walking eight in his previous start against Detroit, Matsuzaka walked three in the first two innings on Saturday night, including one to Carlos Gomez with the bases loaded.

But he didn't issue another walk in his last five innings, keeping his team in the game until the offense finally came through in the seventh inning, albeit in improbable fashion.

Coco Crisp and Jed Lowrie led off with back-to-back homers -- Crisp's first since Sept. 6 and Lowrie's first of his career -- to give the Sox a 3-2 lead and they never looked back.

"I kind of forgot how to run around the bases," Crisp joked. "They were getting on me because I was running too slow."

Mike Lowell and Kevin Youkilis also hit solo homers for Boston and Jonathan Papelbon bounced back from two straight blown saves to get his 11th of the season.

Lowrie went 3-for-4 and finished a triple shy of the cycle. Manny Ramirez went 0-for-5 and remains stuck on 497 career home runs.

In his first big league start, Glen Perkins (0-1) had little trouble with big boppers David Ortiz, Ramirez and Lowell in the middle of Boston's lineup. They combined to go 1-for-9 with a single and no RBI against the lefty, but the Red Sox got a big boost from hitters No. 8 and 9 in the order.

Perkins took a 2-1 lead into the seventh inning before the light-hitting duo of Crisp and Lowrie spoiled his evening. He gave up three runs and nine hits with three strikeouts in six-plus innings.

Not bad for a guy who was pitching in teammate Nick Punto's cleats and with a glove his wife brought him from home after his equipment never arrived from Triple-A Rochester.

"It is a little ironic. You've got those two guys and got them to ground out a few times, got them to strike out," Perkins said of Ortiz and Ramirez. "And then the eight, nine hitters, those are the guys you don't want to hurt you. You expect the other guys that might do the damage, but that is the game of baseball."

Justin Morneau went 2-for-4 with an RBI for Minnesota and Mike Lamb had three hits, including a popup that hit off a support wire near the Metrodome roof and fell in front of the mound in the ninth.

But the Twins couldn't manage much more against the mystifying Matsuzaka.

"We just couldn't figure out how to get runs off the guy," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Notes

  • Red Sox RHP Curt Schilling threw from 60 feet as he continues his rehabilitation of a shoulder injury. Schilling said he felt good and will throw again on Monday.
  • Red Sox RHP Bartolo Colon made a rehab start on Saturday for Triple-A Pawtucket, allowing one run and four hits in three innings with two strikeouts.
  • Twins 2B Brendan Harris (hamstring) missed the game, as did Red Sox SS Julio Lugo (concussion).
 
Copyright 2014 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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Sure, Daisuke Matsuzaka can tip his hat after he throws seven innings and strikes out seven. (AP)
Sure, Daisuke Matsuzaka can tip his hat after he throws seven innings and strikes out seven. (AP)

Players of the Game
Boston

M. Lowell
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
Minnesota

J. Morneau
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, RF4000000 .278
Dustin Pedroia, 2B5021001 .307
David Ortiz, DH4000113 .234
Manny Ramirez, LF5000012 .301
Mike Lowell, 3B4121100 .280
Kevin Youkilis, 1B5121014 .319
Jason Varitek, C3020101 .262
Coco Crisp, CF4111004 .312
Jed Lowrie, SS4231011 .310
Totals38512534  
Batting
2B - Kevin Youkilis (12, Perkins), Jason Varitek (8, Perkins), Jed Lowrie (4, Perkins)
HR - Mike Lowell (3, Bass), Kevin Youkilis (8, Perkins), Coco Crisp (1, Perkins), Jed Lowrie (1, Perkins)
SH - Jacoby Ellsbury (2)
RBI - Dustin Pedroia (20), Mike Lowell (8), Kevin Youkilis (29), Coco Crisp (7), Jed Lowrie (7)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Lowrie-Pedroia-Youkilis
Boston Red Sox
Daisuke Matsuzaka (W,6-0) 7622370 2.45
Hideki Okajima (H,9) 1000000 0.50
Jonathan Papelbon (S,11) 1100020 2.41
Pitches-Strikes - Daisuke Matsuzaka 96-63, Hideki Okajima 12-8, Jonathan Papelbon 20-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Daisuke Matsuzaka 5-8, Hideki Okajima 1-2, Jonathan Papelbon 1-0
Batters Faced - Daisuke Matsuzaka 29, Hideki Okajima 3, Jonathan Papelbon 4
Minnesota Twins
Carlos Gomez, CF3001121 .271
Matt Tolbert, 2B4110013 .294
Joe Mauer, C3000121 .333
Justin Morneau, 1B4021001 .269
Michael Cuddyer, RF3100102 .261
Jason Kubel, DH4000012 .222
Delmon Young, LF4010000 .271
Mike Lamb, 3B4030000 .235
Adam Everett, SS3000024 .196
   a- Craig Monroe, PH1000011 .270
Totals3327239  
a-struck out for Everett in the 9th
Batting
2B - Matt Tolbert (6, Matsuzaka)
RBI - Carlos Gomez (13), Justin Morneau (27)
2-OUT RBI - Carlos Gomez (9)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Tolbert-Everett-Morneau
E - Carlos Gomez (4, Throwing), Mike Lamb (4, Throwing)
Minnesota Twins
Glen Perkins (L,0-1) 6933033 4.50
Dennys Reyes 1000000 0.00
Brian Bass 1.2322301 4.18
Bobby Korecky 0.1000010 4.50
IBB - Ortiz by Brian Bass
Pitches-Strikes - Glen Perkins 98-69, Dennys Reyes 8-6, Brian Bass 37-20, Bobby Korecky 3-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Glen Perkins 8-7, Dennys Reyes 2-1, Brian Bass 3-2
Batters Faced - Glen Perkins 27, Dennys Reyes 3, Brian Bass 11, Bobby Korecky 1
Game Information
Attendance - 33839
Game Time - 2:44
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Eric Cooper, First Base - Marty Foster, Second Base - Derryl Cousins, Third Base - Angel Hernandez