BOSTON — Juan Samuel thinks Brian Matusz’s season is much better than his record would suggest.
Matusz pitched shutout ball for seven innings and the Baltimore Orioles picked up a rare win at Fenway Park, beating the Boston Red Sox 6-1 Sunday.
“He’s probably been one of our most consistent guys,” the Orioles interim manager said. “We haven’t been able to score runs for him, but he’s been able to take us deep into games, with us not playing well behind him, with us not getting base hits, so it was very nice to see us score some for him today.”
It was the 13th time in 17 starts Matusz (3-9) has held an opponent to three runs or less. The problem was in eight of those his teammates had scored only one run or was shut out.
“Yeah, it has been tough,” he said. “I went 2½ months without getting a win. Yeah, I do know that, so it is nice getting that win, but I never judge my performance off that.”
Pitching under bright, sun-splashed skies, Matusz keep Boston’s hitters off-balance, especially the only two lefties in the lineup — David Ortiz and J.D. Drew. Ortiz fanned three times and Drew twice.
“It was a hard day to see the ball out there,” Ortiz said. “I don’t know why.”
The victory was just the Orioles’ third in their last 20 games at Fenway. Cesar Izturis and Nick Markakis each had three hits for Baltimore, which posted its major league-worst ninth road win.
Kevin Youkilis homered for the Red Sox, who lost for only the fifth time in 17 games. Boston began the day with a chance to move into first in the AL East, but fell 1½ games back after New York beat Toronto, 7-6, in 10 innings.
Matusz held the Red Sox to two hits — in the third and fourth innings — walked three and stuck out seven in earning his first win since April 18. He had lost his last nine decisions.
John Lackey (9-4) gave up four runs — three earned — in 7 1-3 innings. He struck out seven and walked one.
“I thought today was the best stuff he’s had all year,” Boston manager Terry Francona said of Lackey.
Lackey, appearing more upset than usual, agreed.
“He’s probably right,” he said. “That’s what makes it more frustrating.”
The Orioles broke a scoreless tie with two runs in the fourth against Lackey. Markakis doubled, advanced on Ty Wigginton’s bouncer to second and scored on a wild pitch. Scott Moore added an RBI single.
Baltimore chased Lackey in the eighth with two more runs. Miguel Tejada doubled leading off and scored on Wigginton’s bouncer to short. Wigginton reached on the play on Marco Scutaro’s throwing error. Adam Jones, the last batter Lackey faced, had a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0.
The Orioles added two in the ninth against reliever Scott Atchison.
The Red Sox put runners on second and third with one out in the fourth on a walk by Youkilis and double by Adrian Beltre, but failed to score when Drew struck out on a failed check swing and Bill Hall lined to center.
Boston also had runners on first and second with one out in the third.
NOTES: Francona said RHP Clay Buchholz will not make a start Monday or Tuesday against Tampa Bay. Originally, he was pushed back after straining his left hamstring last Saturday against San Francisco. He’s been throwing and running without any trouble. “I think what worries us is the unexpected moves that happen in a game,” Francona said. The manager also said the club may put him on the disabled list with the All-Star break near. … Daisuke Matsuzaka will face the Rays on Monday and Tim Wakefield is scheduled to pitch Wednesday. With Buchholz sidelined, the team will need to name a starter for Tuesday. … Tejada was Baltimore’s DH Sunday, just the third time this year. … Ronan Tynan sang “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch. For years, he had performed at Yankee games. … Baltimore’s Josh Bell’s right knee buckled and he fell to the ground on a swing and miss in the eighth. He had to leave the game in the middle of his at-bat with leg cramps. Jake Fox finished it and popped out.