Dice-K, Red Sox Eke Out Sun-Soaked Win
TORONTO (AP)—David Ortiz found his own way to beat the shadows that were playing havoc with hitters Sunday.
“I just close my eyes and swing,” Ortiz said.
Ortiz and Darnell McDonald hit back-to-back home runs, Daisuke Matsuzaka won for the first time in more than a month and the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2.
For the second time this homestand, there were mechanical problems with the retractable roof at Rogers Centre. One panel remained in place Sunday, leaving shadows over the infield. Both home plate and the mound were in shade for the first three innings but the mound was in full sun by the fourth, creating a difficult contrast for batters.
“It was a great, great day to pitch,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “With the shadow where it was, it was so hard to see. You see half the ball. I went out to make a change and it was so dark (at the plate) and so light (at the mound).”
McDonald said the shadows were “unbelievable.”
“That was probably the worst game I've ever played in as far as dealing with the shadows,” McDonald said.
The entire roof was forced to remain closed during last Wednesday's game against Minnesota.
Aaron Hill connected for Blue Jays, who lead the major leagues with 136 homers, 18 more than Boston, but Toronto's streak of multihomer games was snapped at seven, one shy of the club record.
Matsuzaka (6-3) allowed two runs and six hits in six-plus innings. He walked none and struck out five to win for the first time since June 7 at Cleveland.
“Dice-K was outstanding,” catcher Kevin Cash said. “With or without shadows, he had great stuff today.”
Daniel Bard worked two innings and Jonathan Papelbon closed it out in the ninth for his 20th save.
Boston lost All-Star third baseman Adrian Beltre in the sixth with a strained left hamstring. Bill Hall moved from second to third and Eric Patterson(notes) replaced Beltre in the lineup.
Beltre, who is on the American League roster for Tuesday's All-Star game, said he'd be cautious about playing in Anaheim.
If I don't feel good I won't play,” Beltre said. “I don't want to screw up my season for a couple of at-bats in an exhibition game.”
Blue Jays right-hander Jesse Litsch (0-4) was perfect through the first three innings before issuing a two-out walk to Ortiz in the fourth. Kevin Youkilis followed with a fly out to right.
Marco Scutaro ended Litsch's no-hit bid in the sixth with a two-out double to right-center. Litsch's shutout bid ended when McDonald followed with a two-run drive to left, his sixth.
“When he first got here I think he was really trying to show he belonged in the big leagues,” Francona said. “Now he knows he belongs, he knows he's valuable on our team. He's kind of taken it and run with it. He's been tremendous.”
Ortiz followed that with a solo blast into the second deck in right, his 18th. It was the fourth time this season the Red Sox have hit back-to-back homers and the second time this series. Youkilis and Beltre did it in Friday's 14-3 win.
Litsch came in 4-1 in six career starts against Boston, including 3-0 in three home starts. The right-hander remains winless in six starts since coming off the disabled list June 9. He allowed three runs and four hits in seven innings, walked one and struck out five.
Toronto chased Matsuzaka in the seventh when Adam Lind(notes) led off with a single and Hill followed with a two-run homer to left, his 12th.
NOTES: Boston RHP Josh Beckett (sore back) started at Triple-A Pawtucket Sunday, throwing 68 pitches in four innings. He allowed one run and two hits, walked none and struck out four. … Red Sox OF Mike Cameron, who was hit on the right wrist by a pitch Saturday, did not start. … LHP Ricky Romero, RHP Brandon Morrow and RHP Shaun Marcum will start Toronto's first three games following the All-Star break, manager Cito Gaston said.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)