Minnesota at Boston

Scoreboard
Minnesota (50-39)000000000060
Boston (53-39) «00000001x170

Dice-K, Red Sox edge Baker, Twins in pitchers' duel

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

BOSTON -- Daisuke Matsuzaka's outstanding pitching and the familiar look of Fenway Park were just what the Boston Red Sox needed coming home from a horrendous road trip.

Manny Ramirez hit a run-scoring single in the eighth to lift Boston to a 1-0 win over Minnesota in a splendid pitching matchup between Matsuzaka and the Twins' Scott Baker on Monday night.

"That was probably his best outing as far as his ability to command the strike zone," Boston catcher Jason Varitek said. "It's good. It seemed like our bats were a little slow. We needed a good pitching performance."

Pedroia extended his career-high hitting streak to 15 games with a double high off the Green Monster on the first pitch from reliever Brian Bass (3-3) in the eighth. After J. D. Drew advanced Pedroia to third, Ramirez lined a single to right through a drawn-in infield.

The Red Sox, coming off a 3-7 road trip that dropped them five games behind AL East leader Tampa Bay before Monday, won for the 23rd time in 29 games in Fenway.

Matsuzaka pitched 7 1/3 innings, allowing six hits, walking three and striking out five. Hideki Okajima (2-2) escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the eighth for the win.

It was Boston's major-league high 10th shutout.

For the first time in a few starts, Matsuzaka was pleased with his control.

"Of all our starting pitchers, I'm the only one who hasn't been able to get really deep into the games," he said through a translator. "So what I've been trying to do is go deep into the game and help out the bullpen."

The Twins lost for just the fourth time in 22 games, ending a five-game winning streak.

"A heck of a baseball game," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I think both teams had lots of opportunities all the way through. They finally came through and got a hit."

Jonathan Papelbon got the final three outs for his 26th save.

Baker gave up five hits, walked two and struck out seven in seven innings. He held an opponent to three runs or fewer for the 19th time in 20 starts, dating back to last season.

"Obviously, with them playing at home, they play very well here," Baker said. "I gave it everything I had. We made some great defensive plays, allowing me to continue to pitch and pitch into the seventh inning."

Okajima entered with runners on first and second and walked Justin Morneau before pinch hitter Craig Monroe fouled out and Delmon Young bounced into a fielder's choice.

Matsuzaka, who hadn't pitched beyond five innings in his three starts since returning from the DL on June 21, worked out of a bases-loaded jam he caused with his own wildness in the first. After loading the bases with two outs on a pair of full-count walks and an infield hit by Morneau, he got Young on a bouncer to the mound.

"His fastball was just electric and coming out of his hand real good," Twins right fielder Denard Span said. "He was hiding the ball good."

It was the fifth time in his brief career Matsuzaka has gone seven or more shutout innings. He has yet to record a complete-game shutout.

Boston's best early bid came in the third, when Drew and Ramirez singled to open the inning before Mike Lowell fanned. After a walk by Kevin Youkilis, Coco Crisp and slump-mired Varitek were each retired easily.

Good defense plays contributed to the low-scoring game. Span made a running, semi-jumping catch of Crisp's deep drive in the seventh, and Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury made a diving stab of Carlos Gomez's eighth-inning liner.

Minnesota's Alexi Casilla extended his hitting streak to a career-best 14 with an eighth-inning bunt single.

Varitek, selected by the players to the AL All-Star squad, went 0-for-3 and is 6 for his past 63.

Notes

  • Red Sox DH David Ortiz, on the DL since May 31 because of a partial tear of the sheath that surrounds the tendon in his left wrist, took his first live batting practice before the game and said he felt "good."
  • Boston optioned RHP Justin Masterson to Triple-A Pawtucket earlier in the day and recalled 1B Jeff Bailey. The club plans to convert Masterson into a reliever.
  • Minnesota, coming off a three-game home sweep of the sagging Indians, opened a seven-game road trip Monday.
  • The Twins won three of four games against the Red Sox in the Metrodome in May.
 
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.
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Manny Ramirez voices his pleasure at first base after his go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning.  (AP)
Manny Ramirez voices his pleasure at first base after his go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning. (AP)

Players of the Game
Boston

D. Matsuzaka
IP 7.1
H 6
ER 0
BB 3
K 5
Minnesota

S. Baker
IP 7.0
H 5
ER 0
BB 2
K 7
 

Related Video

December 19, 2014
Fantasy Update: Matt Asiata (0:39)
December 17, 2014
Vikings at Dolphins Preview
(2:27)
December 17, 2014
Fantasy Update: Kyle Rudolph
(0:45)
December 14, 2014
TOPS: NFL news with Jason La Canfora (12/14)
(2:47)
Minnesota Twins
Carlos Gomez, CF4000001 .266
Alexi Casilla, 2B4010010 .318
Joe Mauer, C3010110 .325
Justin Morneau, 1B3020100 .310
Jason Kubel, DH2010101 .267
   a- Craig Monroe, PH-DH1000003 .217
Delmon Young, LF3000017 .286
Brian Buscher, 3B4000021 .314
Nick Punto, SS4010010 .287
Denard Span, RF3000101 .294
Totals3106046  
a-fouled out for Kubel in the 8th
Batting
2B - Justin Morneau (18, Matsuzaka)
3B - Nick Punto (2, Matsuzaka)
Team LOB - 9
Minnesota Twins
Scott Baker 7500270 3.32
Brian Bass (L,3-3) 0.1211100 4.58
Jesse Crain 0.2000000 2.75
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Baker 94-61, Brian Bass 14-6, Jesse Crain 9-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Baker 3-11, Brian Bass 1-0, Jesse Crain 1-1
Batters Faced - Scott Baker 28, Brian Bass 4, Jesse Crain 2
Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, LF4010011 .268
Dustin Pedroia, 2B4110011 .311
J.D. Drew, RF4010011 .299
Manny Ramirez, DH4021010 .281
Mike Lowell, 3B2010212 .299
Kevin Youkilis, 1B3000103 .308
Coco Crisp, CF4000006 .259
Jason Varitek, C3000013 .215
Julio Lugo, SS3010010 .264
Totals3117137  
Batting
2B - Dustin Pedroia (26, Bass), Mike Lowell (21, Baker)
RBI - Manny Ramirez (54)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Lugo-Pedroia-Youkilis, Youkilis
Boston Red Sox
Daisuke Matsuzaka 7.1600350 2.84
Hideki Okajima (W,2-2) 0.2000100 2.87
Jonathan Papelbon (S,26) 1000010 2.33
HBP - Young (by Daisuke Matsuzaka)
Pitches-Strikes - Daisuke Matsuzaka 108-71, Hideki Okajima 12-6, Jonathan Papelbon 9-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Daisuke Matsuzaka 5-10, Hideki Okajima 1-1, Jonathan Papelbon 1-1
Batters Faced - Daisuke Matsuzaka 30, Hideki Okajima 3, Jonathan Papelbon 3
Game Information
Attendance - 37912
Game Time - 2:43
Temperature - 82
Umpires - Home - Greg Gibson, First Base - Sam Holbrook, Second Base - Scott Barry, Third Base - Charlie Reliford