FINAL: BRAVES 4, SOX 3
Having blown the win in the ninth, Fernando Cabrera just took the loss in the 10th, allowing an RBI, ground-rule double on the final pitch. More from the clubhouse a little later.
HEADED TO OT (3:49 p.m., END 9, SOX 3, BRAVES 3)
Fernando Cabrera just blew a save in the ninth and the Sox and Braves are headed to extra innings. Dustin Pedroia knocked in the go-ahead run in the seventh before being pulled from the game and joining many other starters on a van ride back to Fort Myers.
MATSUZAKA: “I SURPRISED MYSELF.” (3:19 p.m., MID 8, SOX LEAD 3-2)
Just came from the clubhouse, where Daisuke Matsuzaka briefly addressed the media. Asked how he felt about throwing 75 pitches in five innings, Matsuzaka made the above remark – “I surprised myself” – with a mischievous grin, suggesting he is growing tired of the constant questions about his pitch efficiency.
Beyond that, he said, he is on schedule to pitch the third game of the season.
No other major news from the clubhouse. Mike Lowell and Rocco Baldelli said they felt fine after the game and each seems encouraged by his physical state.
ENRIQUE GONZALEZ ON TO PITCH (2:34 p.m., MID 6, SCORE TIED 2-2)
Matsuzaka is out, Enrique Gonzalez is in. If all goes well, he’ll get about three innings and, if the Sox are in a closing situation, Fernando Cabrera will pitch the ninth.
Oh, Kawakami allowed only a one-out single to Kevin Youkilis in the sixth.
A reminder that we’ll be running to the clubhouse once Matsuzaka is prepared to speak, so the blog will go dark for a time. We’ll update again as soon as we can.
DICE-K DONE (2:26 p.m., END 5, SCORE TIED 2-2)
Daisuke Matsuzaka issued a two-out walk to Kelly Johnson, but he made it through the fifth without any damage, finishing his five-inning stint at about 75 pitches, a number that is the target for most pitchers in an outing of this length. Matsuzaka allowed two runs (one earned) on three walks and just one hit while striking out two.
Kawakami is still in the game. Onto the sixth…
ROCCO GOES DEEP (2:18 p.m., MID 5, SCORE TIED 2-2)
Nobody is sure exactly how much Rocco Baldelli will be able to play this season, but if he keeps hitting homers, nobody is going to care. Baldelli popped another one today – this one with two outs – to tie the score. Chip Ambres was on third courtesy of some aggressive baserunning on a walk, wild pitch and groundout to shortstop.
A WALK AND AN ERROR (2:07 p.m., END 4, BRAVES LEAD 2-0)
In order, that’s what led to an Atlanta rally in the fourth. With one out, Matsuzaka walked Chipper Jones … after being ahead in the count, 0-2. Brian McCann then doubled to right before Kevin Youkilis uncharacteristically botched a Garret Anderson grounder, allowing bother runners to score. Youkilis probably would have had a play at only first, which means Jones might have scored regardless.
Matsuzaka struck out Francoeur in the next at-bat, making one of the runs unearned.
WAKEFIELD THROWS 94 PITCHES (1:56 p.m., MID 4, NO SCORE)
Not much happening here in Kissimmee, so Adam Kilgore offers this from Fort Myers: Tim Wakefield threw five innings in a Class-A game against the Reds at the minor league complex and allowed five runs on five hits, including three homers. Wakefield said her struggled some with his mechanics, but the good news is he threw 94 pitches and continued to get work in with George Kottaras.
In Kissimmee, the Sox went down in order again in the fourth.
DAISUKE CRUISES (1:49 p.m., END 3, NO SCORE)
Another easy, 1-2-3 for Matsuzaka, who has faced 10 batters in the first three innings, allowing only one hit. Life really would be so much easier if he pitched like this all the time. Of course, he is further along than everyone else.
INTRODUCING CHE-HSUAN LIN (1:46 p.m., MID 3, NO SCORE)
Most Red Sox fans probably haven’t heard of Che-Hsuan Lin, a Taiwan native and minor-league outfielder who batted .249 with 33 steals at Class-A Greenville last season. Lin has the reputation as a terrific defensive player, according to Francona, and he led off the third with a single. He advanced no farther. Still not score.
BACK TO NORMAL (1:36 p.m., MID 2, NO SCORE)
Anyone see a pattern here? Like Kawakami, Matsuzaka put a pair of runners on in the second, allowing a leadoff walk to Brian McCann and single to garret Anderson. Neither scored. Jeff Francoeur struck out and Casey Kotchman popped to third, Anderson doubled off because both runners were in motion.
THE PACE SLOWS (1:27 p.m., MID 2, NO SCORE)
No runs yet, but the Sox did put a pair of runners on against Kawakami on Mike Lowell’s opposite-field single and Nick Green’s walk. Kawakami then retired Chip Ambres (popout) and Dusty Brown (strikeout) to end the threat.
By the way, Brown is here for the day, just to fill out the roster. He will return to minor league camp after the game.
DON’T BLINK (1:15 p.m., END 1, NO SCORE)
The Sox and Phils needed just 2:25 to play nine innings yesterday – and this game is similarly off to a blazing start. The Braves also went down, 1-2-3, and Daisuke Matsuzaka was – get this – efficient. Total time for the first inning: Eight minutes.
KAWAKAMI SHARP (1:10 p.m., MID 1, NO SCORE)
It’s 2 a.m. in Tokyo right now. Do you know where your pitcher is?
Daisuke Matsuzaka has yet to take the mound, but Kenshin Kawakami just mowed down the Sox in order in the top of the first failing to allow a ball out of the infield. Kawakami looks like he has great command and a good breaking ball. Here comes the Dice Man….