ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Daisuke Matsuzaka has been as good as advertised. If Boston would just score some runs for him, he’d have the record to prove it.
Dioner Navarro, B.J. Upton and Carlos Pena homered during a five-run seventh inning and the Devil Rays beat the Red Sox 5-2 on Sunday to stop an eight-game losing streak.
Matsuzaka took a six-hit shutout into the seventh before being lifted after allowing Navarro’s solo homer on an 0-2 pitch and a one-out single to Josh Wilson. Dice-K was charged with two runs and eight hits.
“Dice-K was so good,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “His off-speed all day was sharp. He left a split up to Navarro.”
Manny Delcarmen replaced Matsuzaka and got Akinori Iwamura to ground into a fielder’s choice for the second out. But Brendan Harris singled and Upton hit a three-run drive to make it 4-0. Pena followed Upton with his 25th of the season.
The Red Sox have scored two runs or less while Matsuzaka (12-8) has been in the game in 10 of his last 12 starts. The right-hander threw seven shutout innings in his previous outing, a 1-0 victory at Cleveland on Tuesday.
“When our lineup is unable to produce runs, my job is to hold the other team to zero runs,” Matsuzaka said through an interpreter.
Ramirez has hit 40 homers, including 25 at Tropicana Field, against the Devil Rays. He has 1,584 RBIs, which ties him for 32nd place on the career list with Rogers Hornsby and Harmon Killebrew.
Boston, which lost for the second time in 10 games, leads the AL East by eight games over the New York Yankees, who beat Baltimore 10-6. The Red Sox went 5-2 on a road trip that included taking three of four at Cleveland.