BOSTON (AP) — Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched one-hit ball for seven sharp innings, Jed Lowrie got four more hits and the Boston Red Sox got an early start on their third straight win, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 9-1 Monday.
The game began at 11:07 a.m., the traditional Patriots Day event at Fenway Park. The holiday observed in Massachusetts and Maine marks the anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775. Earlier Monday, the 115th Boston Marathon passed through nearby Kenmore Square.
Matsuzaka (1-2) gave up a clean single to center to Jose Bautista with two outs in the first. The Red Sox righty walked Travis Snider with two outs in the second, then set down his final 16 batters.
Matsuzaka struck out three. In his previous start, he allowed seven runs in two innings.
Toronto finished with two hits. Yunel Escobar homered off Tim Wakefield in the ninth.
Lowrie hit his second homer, a two-run shot in the fifth off Ricky Romero (1-2) that made it 5-0, and finished with four RBIs. He now has 15 hits in his last 24 at-bats.
Kevin Youkilis and Jacoby Ellsbury also homered.
The festive day marked another special occasion — a hit by Carl Crawford.
Boston’s left fielder, signed to a $142 million, seven-year contract in the offseason, broke an 0-for-15 slump with an RBI double that made it 8-0 in the sixth. Crawford, booed after his previous at-bat, received a standing ovation as he raised his batting average to .136 (8 for 59).
Romero allowed five runs in 4 1-3 innings.
The Red Sox have appeared to straighten out their season since losing their first six games and opening at 2-10, matching their worst 12-game record ever. Then they got three straight outstanding starting performances from Josh Beckett in a 4-1 win on Saturday and Jon Lester in an 8-1 win on Sunday.
Matsuzaka was even better, a surprising development after his bad outing on April 11 in a 16-5 loss to Tampa Bay. His ERA dropped Monday from 12.86 to 6.43. He left after just 89 pitches, 58 of them strikes. Alfredo Aceves pitched a scoreless eighth and Wakefield followed.
Lowrie, giving Marco Scutaro a run for the starting shortstop job, gave Boston a 2-0 lead with a two-run single in the first. The Red Sox made it 3-0 in the third on a double by Youkilis and a single by David Ortiz.
Ortiz started the fifth with a walk and scored ahead on Lowrie’s home run. Youkilis added his second homer, a two-run shot, in the sixth before Crawford drove in his second run of the season.
Ellsbury hit his team-leading fourth homer in the seventh.
NOTES: U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, a left-hander, threw out the ceremonial first pitch… The Red Sox are 67-49 on Patriots Day… Lowrie struck out swinging in his last at bat in the eighth and finished 4 for 5.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)