- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 20, 2008

BALTIMORE | Daisuke Matsuzaka won his fourth straight start despite struggling through five innings, and the Boston Red Sox got homers from Jason Varitek and Kevin Youkilis in a 7-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night.

Matsuzaka (15-2) gave up two runs, six hits and five walks. The right-hander failed to retire the side in order but stranded nine runners, including five in scoring position, before being lifted after 105 pitches.

It was Matsuzaka’s 30th career win, most by a Japanese-born pitcher in his first two major league seasons. Hideo Nomo had 29 in 1995 and 1996.

Varitek’s second homer in two games put Boston up 3-0 in the second inning. The drive enabled Varitek to become the first Boston catcher to hit at least 10 home runs in nine seasons, breaking a tie with Carlton Fisk.

Varitek added an RBI double in the fifth after Youkilis hit his 24th homer with a man on. The three RBI matched a season high for Varitek, and it was only the fifth time in his last 58 games that he got more than one hit.

Youkilis added an RBI single in the eighth to cap a three-hit, three-RBI night.

Daniel Cabrera (8-8) gave up both homers in another poor outing against the Red Sox. The right-hander, who allowed six runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings, is 2-11 with a 7.13 ERA in 16 career starts against Boston.

It was a tough day for the Orioles, who placed closer George Sherrill on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation. With 31 saves and three wins, the All-Star left-hander has played a part in more than half of Baltimore’s 60 victories this season.

The Red Sox used an RBI single by David Ortiz and a sacrifice fly by Jason Bay to go up 2-0 in the first inning, and Varitek homered leading off the second.

Baltimore closed to 3-2 in the third. After Matsuzaka retired the first two batters, Melvin Mora singled and Aubrey Huff walked before Ramon Hernandez and Luke Scott delivered run-scoring singles.

The Orioles loaded the bases in the fourth before Matsuzaka struck out Mora and retired Huff on a popup. Opponents are 0-for-14 against Matsuzaka this season with the bases loaded.

Notes - The sellout crowd of 48,515 was the largest of the season and included the 50 millionth fan at Camden Yards. The 17-year-old stadium reached 50 million quicker than any ballpark in baseball history. …

Brian Roberts had three of Baltimore’s nine hits. …

RHP Josh Beckett’s next start for Boston has been pushed back a few days because of lingering numbness in his right hand. …

Boston rookie Jacoby Ellsbury stole two bases to raise his AL-leading total to 40.

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