The Boston Red Sox enjoyed quite a weekend in Philadelphia despite dropping the series opener on Friday night. Saturday and Sunday saw tremendous starting pitching performances out of Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield, respectively.
In fact, the man they call "Dice-K" brought a no-hitter into the 8th inning before surrendering a single with two outs. Regardless, he pitched eight strong innings, yielding just the one hit, in the Red Sox' 5-0 win. Daniel Bard tossed a hitless 9th.
Just as improbable as the performance by Matsuzaka was the dominating win Tim Wakefield had over Roy "Doc" Halladay yesterday. Wakefield also through eight scoreless innings and the Sox' bats got to Halladay early in the 8-3 win. Ramon Ramirez was cuffed around a bit in the ninth, but that was about the only negative to be found in the game from the Boston perspective.
Friday's night opener saw the Sox get off to a good start when Victor Martinez continued his hot hitting with a home run off a Phillies' starter Cole Hamels. That, however, was all the offense the Sox could muster and John Lackey took his third loss against four victories.
In yesterday's victory over Halladay, there were several offensive heroes. Kevin Youkilis had two hits, including a solo homerun, his 9th of the year. Youk also scored three time to go along with his two RBI. JD Drew doubled and drove in his 29th run of the year. Jacoby Ellsbury, in his second start his returning from a rehabilitation assignment, drove in two with a two-out base knock.
With the loss, Halladay dropped to 6-3 on the season, but even though he gave up six earned runs, his ERA is still just 2.22.
With Jason Varitek catching Matsuzaka, Dice-K was on from the beginning. He benefited from very good defense (including his own) behind him, but the bottom line was that he was much more efficient with his pitches and had better control than he had in previous outings.
Wakefield scattered five hits in his eight innings yesterday to earn his first victory of the season against two losses. His ERA now stands at 4.44.
Adrian Beltre had a solid weekend, including hitting two doubles on Saturday and driving a pair. He is starting to see an increase in offensive production to go with his average, which has been a "soft" .310 so far this season.
Despite having won five of their last six games, the Red Sox remain nine games behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the loss column. They have a chance to take care of that themselves starting tonight when they open a series with the Rays in Tampa.