SEATTLE (AP) -With every pitch, Boston's
grew more confident this would finally be the night he would again throw a complete game.
Keep trying Dice-K.
''If I couldn't throw a complete game today I don't know when I'm going to do it,'' Matsuzaka said through an interpreter.
Even though Matsuzuka had to leave in the eighth inning, he continued his masterful pitching away from Fenway Park, as the
4-2 on Tuesday night.
Matsuzaka (11-1) was dominant for the first seven innings, scattering two hits before Seattle finally got to him in the eighth,
ending any hopes for the second complete game of his career.
After dropping five straight on the road, the
seem to have found a remedy against the lowly Mariners, who fell a season-worst 24 games under .500 (38-62) with their fourth
straight loss. First it was
's gem on Monday night, then Dice-K improving to 5-0 with a 2.20 ERA in eight starts away from Fenway Park.
''I think the one thing we've noticed with Lester and Dice-K, the rest has done them some good,'' Boston manager
said. ''But when they've gone out in the eighth, the ups and downs seem to have gotten to them a little bit which I think
Matsuzaka's scoreless innings streak ended at 24 1-3. Dice-K's countryman,
, lined an RBI double over center fielder
with one out in the eighth for the first run allowed by Matsuzaka since the first inning against Tampa Bay on July 2 when
hit a two-out RBI single. Matsuzaka had not allowed an earned run in his previous two starts.
''Facing off against Ichiro I wanted to make good pitches to good spots,'' Matsuzaka said.
followed the double with an RBI single to score Suzuki and knock out Matsuzaka, who walked three and struck out six.
got the final two outs of the eighth and
pitched the ninth for his 30th save in 34 chances.
''If our starters get us deep like that we should be OK,'' Francona said. ''Sometimes your pitching gives your offense time
to kind of get straightened out. If we get deep in games on a consistent basis we should be fine.''
Boston's offense got a jolt from the start thanks to J.D. Drew. His 18th homer sent with two outs in the first sent Matsuzaka
to the mound with a 1-0 lead.
Drew jumped on a a 3-2 pitch from Seattle starter R.A. Dickey, and the homer barely eluded Suzuki, who slightly misjudged
his leap at the wall and watched the homer plop into the glove of a fan in the first row.
Boston added three runs in the fifth, started by
's bunt single and
's ringing liner that left a plume of chalk as it landed on the left-field foul line. It was Pedroia's 23rd straight road
game with a hit, and he has a hit in 24 of his last 25 games overall. Drew and rookie
added sacrifice flies in the inning around
's RBI double.
''We had some tough games against (the Angels), and Lester comes in and slams the door and Dice-K follows in his footsteps,''
Drew said. ''The offense just had to score a few runs.''
Seattle's only significant challenge to Matsuzaka appeared to come in the fourth when
led off with a walk and
lined a single to center.
helped out Dice-K by weakly grounding into a double play and
grounded out to end the inning with Ibanez left at third.
Otherwise, Matsuzaka set down 12 of the next 13 batters after Vidro's single until rookie Brian LaHair singled leading off
the eighth with his first major league hit. Suzuki then doubled, his fourth career hit off Dice-K.
''We have to come out and put a little more pressure on the other ball club,'' Seattle manager Jim Riggleman said. ''(Matsuzaka)
was on top of his game and we didn't get to him until late.''
Dickey (2-5) pitched 6 1-3 innings, allowing nine hits and four runs, and he didn't strike out a batter for the first time
in his eight starts this season. Dickey has just one win as a starter since entering the rotation on a regular basis in the
middle of June.
Notes: Seattle rookie C
left the game in the third after a foul ball clipped his right hand and ripped the finger nail off his thumb. He was replaced
. Riggleman said Clement should be ready to play Friday in Toronto. ... Suzuki went 1-for-2 and is six hits shy of 3,000 combined
in his professional baseball career in Japan and with the Mariners. ... Tuesday was Boston's 200th win all-time against the