Daisuke Matsuzaka, in his eighth appearance of the 2012 season, wound up getting drubbed by the Blue Jays, giving up five runs on five hits in a flawed 1⅓ -inning performance in Saturday night’s rain-delayed 9-2 loss at Fenway Park.
As a consolation Matsuzaka did not have to hang around to get drenched from the windswept sheets of rain that pelted his teammates and the crowd of 37,107.
Matsuzaka showed so much promise in his last Fenway outing, picking up the victory in a 5-1 triumph over the Royals Aug. 27, going seven innings and allowing an unearned run.
But when he followed that with a poor outing Sept. 2 at Oakland where he gave up six runs on seven hits in 3⅔ innings in a 6-2 loss, there was some concern.
And that concern only increased Saturday night when Matsuzaka allowed the first five batters he faced in the second inning to score. He gave up five hits, including a leadoff solo homer by Yunel Escobar that sparked the second-inning deluge. He needed 22 pitches to get his first out of the inning, getting Rajai Davis to hit an RBI sacrifice fly to center that made it 5-0.
When Colby Rasmus came up and reached on a line drive single to right, Matsuzaka, mercifully, was done for the night after 42 pitches (25 strikes), marking the second shortest outing of his career — both this season. He lasted just one inning (26 pitches) in a 6-1 loss at Oakland July 2.
Alfredo Aceves, the recalcitrant reliever who was suspended three games Aug. 25 for conduct detrimental to the team, was summoned from the bullpen for long relief.
Aceves got out of the inning by getting Edwin Encarnacion to fly to Jacoby Ellsbury in center and watching as Rasmus was doubled up after mistakenly thinking there were two outs and running toward second base.
Toronto starter Aaron Laffey, called in when scheduled starter J.A. Happ was shut down with a broken right foot, retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced, allowing only a Ryan Lavarnway walk.
Ellsbury broke up Laffey’s no-hit bid when he led off with a single to center in the fourth.
Dustin Pedroia came to the plate and drew a first-pitch ball from Laffey before the skies parted at 8:25 p.m, causing a rain delay of 58 minutes.
When play resumed at 9:23 p.m., Pedroia came to the plate with a 1-0 count.
With one pitch, Laffey got Pedroia to hit a pop foul near first for the first out of the inning. After Cody Ross drew a walk, Laffey got Mauro Gomez to ground to short for an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
Andrew Miller, making his 47th appearance of the season, entered the fifth in relief of Aceves, who allowed one hit and struck out two in 2⅔ innings. Miller retired the Jays in 1-2-3 fashion, striking out Rasmus, and getting Encarnacion and Adam Lind to fly to right.
The Sox came to life in the fifth and rallied for a pair of runs when Lavarnway drew a leadoff walk and went to second on Mike Aviles’s groundball single past third. With no outs and men in scoring position, Scott Podsednik hit safely for the 14th time in his last 16 starts at Fenway when he ripped an RBI single to right, scoring Lavarnway to pull the Sox within 5-1.
Lind then made a brilliant fielding play on Jose Iglesias’s pop foul to first, lunging to make the catch. Lind then made a diving tag on the bag to double up Podsednik, who was caught off guard.
With two out and Aviles at third, Pedro Ciriaco hit an RBI single to center to make it 5-2.
Ellsbury came to the plate as rain began to fall. Laffey, one out from ending the fifth, fell behind in the count, 2-0, when a downpour caused a second rain delay.
When play resumed at 1o:51 p.m., Brad Lincoln relieved Laffey, who went 4⅔ innings and allowed two runs on four hits and struck out two. Lincoln made it an official game when he induced Ellsbury to ground out to second.
Mark Melancon relieved Miller in the sixth and retired the Jays in order. Aceves, Miller, and Melancon combined for five scoreless innings, retiring 15 of 17 batters including the last 13 in a row.
Vicente Padilla entered in the eighth and gave up three consecutive singles to allow a run.
The Sox, meanwhile, were unable to generate any offensive response in their last three frames as the Blue Jays put it out of reach on Gose’s three-run homer off Bailey in the ninth.