Red Sox lose two, but Matsuzaka has strong outing

The Associated Press
Posted March 27, 2011, at 5:39 p.m.

Baltimore Orioles righthander Chris Tillman allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings to help the Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox 4-3 Sunday in a spring training game at Sarasota, Fla.

Trailing 3-1, Baltimore rallied in the eighth against Santo Luis. With the bases loaded and no outs, Matt Wieters singled in two runs and backup Ryan Adams followed with an RBI single.

J.D. Drew hit his second homer for the Red Sox, a two-run drive in the third.

Boston has lost 10 straight, but manager Terry Francona expressed absolutely no concern.

“You’re talking to a guy who cheats when he’s playing his kids at Monopoly. I want to win, but we wouldn’t have put in Luis if we wanted to win,” Francona said. “You try to do what you’re supposed to do, and you always want to play the game right. We’d all rather win than lose. But I don’t think it’s created an atmosphere of panic. Sometimes you throw some kids out there.”

Koji Uehara pitched a perfect seventh inning for the Orioles in his first big league appearance since Feb. 28. The right-handed reliever has been hindered by a sore elbow.

“I’d almost forgotten he was here,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter joked. “To see him throwing the split and the slider, that’s a good sign.”

Asked if he’s prepared to pitch on opening day, Uehara said, “More than enough to be ready. … I’m in a good place.”

On Saturday night at Fort Myers, Fla., Boston’s Daisuke Matsuzaka turned in his strongest outing of the spring. Red Sox reliever Bobby Jenks had a little more trouble.

Matsuzaka was solid for six innings before Jenks gave up six runs in the ninth, letting the Minnesota Twins rally past Boston 9-8.

Matsuzaka allowed one run and five hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked one.

“His stuff was sharp. His fastball had some real good finish on it,” Francona said. “He kept making pitches he wanted to.”

Adrian Gonzalez hit his first home run of the spring as Boston took an 8-1 lead. Jenks came in for the ninth with an 8-3 edge and Minnesota combined five hits and a walk to score six times, with four of the runs unearned.

The Red Sox committed three errors in the game, including one in the ninth.

Francona said Jenks’ pitches were “a little flatter today than we’ve seen all spring.”

“His stuff’s been pretty consistent all spring and he’s been pitching in different situations. I just think tonight was a bad night,” Francona said.

Twins starter Brian Duensing allowed six runs, three of them unearned, and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings.

“Dunce was up,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He really didn’t have his best stuff.”

Justin Morneau doubled twice for the Twins. Darnell McDonald hit a bases-loaded triple for Boston.

NOTES: Francona was asked before Sunday’s game to comment on a magazine article in which Showalter said, “I’d like to see how smart (Boston GM) Theo Epstein is with the Tampa Bay payroll.” Francona said, “That’s my boss, so I was kind of aggravated a little bit. It’s not the end of the world. I just thought it shouldn’t have been done.” … Former Oriole Matt Albers gave up an RBI single to Nick Markakis in the third. … Francona likes what he’s seen from infielder Nate Spears, who is expected to start the season with Triple-A Pawtucket. “Spears is going to find his way to the big leagues,” the manager said. “He deserves to be here. He’s worked as hard as anybody in camp, he’s about as good a kid as you’re ever going to find and the coaches love him.”

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/03/27/sports/red-sox-lose-two-but-matsuzaka-has-strong-outing/ printed on July 23, 2014