The Red Sox and Nationals are set to face off for the second time Saturday afternoon as Daisuke Matsuzaka makes his return against Gio Gonzalez.
We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Fenway Park.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 2, Final -- Tyler Clippard gets his three outs, and the Sox are back under .500.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 2, Mid 9th -- Alfredo Aceves enjoys a quick ninth inning, keeping the Sox within striking distance of the Nationals as they head to the bottom half of the ninth.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 2, End 8th -- The best shot the Sox are going to get goes by the wayside, as the heart of the order goes 1-2-3 in the eighth.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 2, Mid 8th -- Franklin Morales makes quick work of things in the eighth. Give him this: he's been impressive in long outings.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 2, End 7th -- And the Red Sox are back in this one. The Sox finally get to Gio Gonzalez as he starts to tire late, with Will Middlebrooks drawing a one-out walk and then moving to third on a Mike Aviles single bobbled by Bryce Harper in right. The Nationals bring in Craig Stammen to relieve Gonzalez, but he can only give up a walk before being replaced by Michael Gonzalez to move a pinch-hitting Jarrod Saltalamacchia to the right side of the plate. It's a solid bit of strategy, but to no avail, as the catcher blasts a line drive off the wall in left, scoring two.
The new Gonzalez does manage to get the next two outs without much trouble, but the Sox at least have some life now.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 0, Mid 7th -- Another good inning for Franklin Morales keeps the lead at just four.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 0, End 6th -- The only baserunners the Sox can get right now are on infield singles and errors. The former gets Dustin Pedroia on base this time, and the latter gets him to second as Gio Gonzalez throws the ball away. The rest of the Sox do nothing, however, with Danny Espinosa jumping to grab a bloop that almost gets over his head, and David Ortiz grounding out into the shift.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 0, Mid 6th -- Franklin Morales, in for Daisuke Matsuzaka, has a very quick 1-2-3 inning. If nothing else, the game is at least moving at a decent pace.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 0, End 5th -- Adam LaRoche helps the Sox to a leadoff baserunner, erring on a ground ball from Kevin Youkilis. Gio Gonzalez was not to be denied his fifth scoreless inning, however, dotting a corner to strike Will Middlebrooks out, nearly getting a double play from Mike Aviles, and then getting Kelly Shoppach on a foul tip.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 0, Mid 5th -- The Daisuke from the first inning returns, striking out Jesus Flores and Bryce Harper, but unfortunately good pitching can't erase runs after they've scored. The Sox offense needs to get to work now, and so far there's no sign of that happening.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 0, End 4th -- This game is starting to look an awful lot like the first game. A four-run Nationals lead after some second-inning trouble thanks to bad pitching in the middle innings by the Red Sox starter. With Gio Gonzalez picking up another 1-2-3 inning, this four run lead seems an awfully large one to surmount.
Nationals 4, Red Sox 0, Mid 4th -- Daisuke falls apart in the fourth, and it starts exactly how you'd imagine: with a four pitch walk. Losing his ability to locate his fastball, Daisuke gives up the free pass to Bryce Harper, a single to Ryan Zimmerman, and a ground rule double to Michael Morse, and a single to Ian Desmond, all on fastballs which end up over the middle of the zone far too often. Three runs score, and more might have come in were it not for a sliding catch by Adrian Gonzalez in right which he turns into two, doubling Desmond off first for the final out.
Nationals 1, Red Sox 0, End 3rd -- The Red Sox can do nothing with Gio Gonzalez in the third, and given the results against the curveball so far, they should probably just stop swinging at it. It's the curveball which Kelly Shoppach swings over the top of for Gonzalez' strikeout, and the curveball which Daniel Nava takes three of for one strike and two balls. While the latter does end up grounding out weakly to short, it's worth considering.
Nationals 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 3rd -- But for that one pitch in the second, Daisuke is all the way on today. A sweeping curveball cuts back into the zone, freezing Rick Ankiel for Daisuke's fourth strikeout of the day, and with two outs a perfectly located 3-2 fastball catches Steve Lombardozzi looking for his fifth.
Nationals 1, Red Sox 0, End 2nd -- A wasted opportunity for the Red Sox, who leave David Ortiz stranded after he reaches third with one out thanks to a double to left and a wild pitch that catches catcher Jesus Flores in the side. Will Middlebrooks needed just a good fly ball, but instead bounced a grounder to third, and Mike Aviles quickly popped out on the first pitch to end the inning.
Nationals 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 2nd -- The first pitch of the inning costs Daisuke a run, as he has a fastball--supposed to be away--tail back over the plate, letting Adam LaRoche plant it into the bullpen. Matsuzaka fights back, striking out Michael Morse for the first out of the inning and getting the next two on just five pitches, but the Sox are behind 1-0 all the same.
Red Sox 0, Nationals 0, End 1st -- The Sox go quietly in the bottom half of the first, with Dustin Pedroia taking an ill-advised swing at a curveball down-and-in to give Gio Gonzalez his first strikeout. We've seen a lot of that from Pedroia at the plate since coming back from injury. One wonders how long this can continue before the Sox reconsider their decision to bring him back early.
Red Sox 0, Nationals 0, Mid 1st -- Daisuke Matsuzaka does not look like someone pitching his first major league game in a year. Throwing some excellent pitches with terrific movement, Daisuke is through the first inning 1-2-3. Steve Lombardozzi went down on just three pitches, swinging over the top of a changeup for the strikeout. Bryce Harper fell behind 0-1 before blooping another changeup into shallow left field, where Daniel Nava made a running basket catch by the foul line. Ryan Zimmerman managed to put up a decent fight, running the count to 3-1 before fouling off a couple of pitches, but ultimately struck out swinging at a nice slurve that dipped out of the zone.