Juan Castro’s flare over shortstop Marco Scutaro's head broke up Daisuke Matsuzaka's no-hit bid with two outs in the eighth inning. The Red Sox still sailed to a 5-0 win over the Phillies.
Four outs separated the Phillies from suffering their first no-hitter since 1978. It wasn't for a lack of trying. The Red Sox are spinning this as Daisuke's atonement for an awful outing against the Yankees after which he called out his catcher. Speaking on last night's performance, Red Sox manager Terry Francona told reporters “From the very beginning, you could see he got in a rhythm. That’s the best fastball we’ve seen. He established that. His slider, he had one of the best changeups we’ve seen, we made some great plays behind him - that was fun to watch.” (courtesy of ex-Phillies scribe Scott Lauber, who now covers the Sox for the Boston Herald.)
From the Phillies' side, it was a night of hitting the ball hard but right at them, starting in the first with a Chase Utley screamer to leaping second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who flipped to first for the double play; the Phillies hit into two twin killings, the other happening on a nice play at third by two-time Gold Glove winner Adrian Beltre. Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth also scorched a couple balls to no avail. Boston played great defense all night.
Meanwhile, Kyle Kendrick kept it a game for the first four innings until he became irrevocably untethered in a four-run fifth, finishing with eight hits, two walks and five runs over 4 2-3 innings, the first time a Phillies' starter couldn't survive at least five innings since April 14, which was Kendrick's 1 2-3 inning disaster against Washington. That cleared the mound for bullpen B-listers Antonio Bastardo, David Herndon and Nelson Figueroa, who hadn't pitched since May 3, to pitch 4 1-3 shutout innings, the night's only real positive.No biggie - Tim Wakefield and Roy Halladay decide the rubber game today at 1:35. Time for Mick Billmeyer to dust off his knuckleball during BP.
Random thought of the game: Raul Ibanez's failure to get to a ball to left played a key role in Boston's rally. Stat of the game: Greg Dobbs is now 10-71 (.141) his last two seasons as a pinch hitter, including just 3 XHB with 9 BBs to go with 16 Ks. (courtesy of MG)