The Red Sox escaped last place in the AL East with a 5-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels Saturday--their fourth straight.
Where Friday's win was a messy affair which the Red Sox won as much due to the Angels' mishaps as their own play, this most recent victory was just a well-played baseball game from start to finish.
On the mound, Daisuke Matsuzaka not only continued the trend of strong starting pitching for the Red Sox--he arguably took it to new heights. Though the Angels were putting the ball in the air, Daisuke was able to get out after out after out. Allowing just the one hit--a line drive by Alberto Callaspo that deflected off his glove in the second inning--Daisuke baffled the Angels all night, showing good fastball command and picking up nine strikeouts along the way.
The Red Sox offense was not quite as impressive, but came close. The Red Sox' new acquisitions were at work early on--a welcome change of pace for Boston. With Jed Lowrie doubling to right field in the second, Carl Crawford finally seemed to catch a break, hitting a ground ball up the middle that deflected off Erick Aybar's glove allowing Crawford to reach and Lowrie to come home. Then, in the third with Jacoby Ellsbury at third, Adrian Gonzalez hit a hard line drive past the first baseman to give the Sox their second run.
It was the returning Kevin Youkilis, however, who provided the biggest hit of the night, launching his fourth homer of the season in the fifth inning to score two more. An unlikely combination of doubles from Carl Crawford and Jason Varitek closed out the team's scoring in the sixth, and Daniel Bard struck out two in the ninth to complete the shutout.