CLEVELAND (AP) -Daisuke Matsuzaka plans to give the game ball from his milestone win to his youngest child as a souvenir.
The Boston Red Sox hope the kid's collection grows.
Relying more on a cut-fastball than his usual slider, Matsuzaka pitched eight shutout innings and pushed his scoreless streak to 15 in Cleveland, leading the Red Sox to a 4-1 win over the Indians on Monday night.
Matsuzaka (5-2) gave up four hits - all singles - and was never threatened by Cleveland's punchless lineup. The right-hander continued a remarkable run by Boston's starters on the road. In the club's last nine games outside Fenway Park, the Red Sox rotation is 8-0 with a 0.70 ERA.
It was the 150th career win for Dice-K, who won the first 108 games in Japan before signing with the Red Sox in 2006.
``It's just a milestone that went by, but at the same time I also know that it was a big moment for me,' he said through a translator.
After the final out, Matsuzaka retrieved the ball as a keepsake for one of his three children.
``I wanted to go out there and get the ball,' he said. ``Not for me, but for my third child, who I have not had a chance to get a good game-winning ball for.'
This was the type of performance the Red Sox want to see more of from Matsuzaka, who began the season on the disabled list and recently walked eight in a loss to Kansas City.
``His cutter was real effective,' Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. ``It was a real good weapon for him.'
Francona said it's encouraging to see Matsuzaka string together two solid outings after what has so far been an up-and-down season.
``The more consistent guys are, the better,' he said. ``We didn't do much offensively tonight, but the way he was pitching, you get one (run), one, one, one, it ends up being a good night.'
Matsuzaka walked two, struck out five and allowed only two runners to reach second before he was replaced to start the ninth by reliever Daniel Bard, who gave up a leadoff homer to Austin Kearns.
Indians manager Manny Acta was impressed with Matsuzaka's command and how easily he took care of Cleveland's lineup.
``We couldn't get anything off Matsuzaka,' he said. ``He spoiled our game plan to work the count against him by being aggressive and throwing strikes. He was aggressive in the zone, then used his off-speed stuff and made us chase.'
Marcus Scutaro hit three doubles and scored twice as the Red Sox improved to 9-2 on the road since May 18.
Boston made the most of its five hits off Fausto Carmona (4-5) in six innings.
The opener of the four-game series was a homecoming for Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez. The three-time All-Star was traded by the Indians last season before the July 31 deadline. Martinez was wildly popular during his eight seasons with Cleveland. He received a nice ovation before each at-bat and finished 2 for 4 with an RBI.
Carmona, whose record doesn't reflect how well he has pitched in a personal bounce-back season, only trailed 2-0 entering the seventh. But Scutaro led off with a double and eventually scored on Martinez's fly to deep left off Hector Ambriz, giving Boston a three-run cushion.
Carmona went at least six innings for the 11th time in 12 starts, but the right-hander was hurt by six walks.
``I thought Fausto did well despite all the walks,' Acta said. ``It looked like every inning he had a man on second and nobody out, but he kept his composure, battled and gave us a chance. He could have walked 100, but gave up only three runs and gave us a chance.'
The Red Sox went up 4-0 in the eighth when Adrian Beltre doubled, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Bill Hall's single.
Boston pounced on a fielding error by Carmona to open the third to take a 2-0 lead.
Kevin Youkilis hit a sacrifice fly in the first to bring in Boston's first run.
NOTES: Boston is 18-5 against Cleveland since 2007. ... Before the game, the Red Sox placed closer Jonathan Papelbon on the bereavement list. ... Squeezed out of at_bats, Indians OF/1B Matt LaPorta was optioned to Triple-A Columbus. ... Martinez is batting .500 (25 for 50) since May 19.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved