Daisuke Matsuzaka did not pitch badly Monday night, but walks hurt the right-hander, who was saddled with the 4-2 loss when Daniel Bard allowed two inherited runners to score in the seventh, snapping a 2-2 deadlock.
Dice-K walked five, and two of those base runners ended up scoring.
“Walks have a way of coming around to score,” said manager Terry Francona. “Not all the time, but even if they don’t score they force you to pitch out of the stretch and make it a lot more difficult inning.”
With the game tied at 2-2, Dice-K’s final walk was to Brian Roberts with one out in the seventh. And when Nick Markakis went with an outside pitch and drilled a double into the left-field corner, Francona called in Bard.
Francona was hoping for a strikeout from Bard, but Ty Wigginton hit a fly ball to center, delivering Roberts on the sacrifice fly that put the Orioles on top, 3-2. A hanging slider from Bard was then smacked into right by Luke Scott, giving Baltimore a two-run cushion.
The loss dropped Matsuzaka’s record to 9-6. He has given up at least four earned runs in seven straight starts, going 1-3 with a 6.91 earned-run average over that stretch.
Hall helps keep it close
Bill Hall, playing left field, had two assists, keeping Baltimore from opening up a bigger lead early on.
In the third inning, Hall gunned down Roberts trying to score from second on Scott’s two-out single. In the fourth, after retrieving an errant throw from first baseman Victor Martinez on a potential force-out at second, Hall threw out Felix Pie trying to advance from first to third on the error.
“On the first one I kind of cheated in a little bit,” said Hall, who also drove in one of the Red Sox runs on a single in the sixth that tied the game at 2-2.
“The wind was blowing in, so I knew if the ball was hit over my head I’d still be able to get it,” said Hall. “I got the ball, got a good four-seam grip for the first time in a long time and the ball carried [to the plate] the way I wanted it to.”
Hall’s throw was in plenty of time for the out, with catcher Jason Varitek blocking the plate and slapping the tag on Roberts.
His second assist came in part from his hustle. Hall got into position to back up Martinez’ throw, scooped up the bouncing ball and threw to third baseman Adrian Beltre, getting Pie with plenty of time to spare, short-circuiting what could have been a big inning.
V-Mart stays hot; Beltre's streak ends
Martinez went 3 for 4, extending his home hitting streak to 12 games. It was Martinez’ seventh multi-hit game in his last 12 ... Beltre’s hitting streak was snapped at nine games ... Hideki Okajima worked a spotless eighth, with the Orioles failing to get the ball out of the infield. He stretched his scoreless streak to 9 1/3 innings ... The Red Sox fell to 8-8 against the last-place Orioles, who have won only 60 games this year. Baltimore has improved under manager Buck Showalter, though, recording a 28-17 record since he took over.