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Two Runs Enough For Red Sox And Daisuke

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OAKLAND CA - JULY 19:  Daisuke Matsuzaka #18 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum  on July 19 2010 in Oakland California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND CA - JULY 19: Daisuke Matsuzaka #18 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on July 19 2010 in Oakland California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox started their road trip off on the right foot Monday with a 2-1 win over the Oakland Athletics.

Despite both teams throwing out the back end of their rotation, this was a good old fashioned pitchers duel. Ben Sheets, while not unhittable, was backed up by some strong defense and kept the big hits away from the Sox in every inning but the fourth, when a triple by Eric Patterson and an Adrian Beltre home run put two runs on the board.

That was all the Sox would need, though, as Daisuke was dealing. Aside from two at bats where he seemed to lose his control, walking Daric Barton and Jack Cust, Dice pounded the strike zone, getting ahead of 19-of-24 batters with first pitch strikes, and then dropping a hard breaking curve in to put them away. All together Daisuke struck out six batters in almost seven innings, allowing one run on a Rajai Davis home run.

Daisuke was pulled with two outs and runners on second and third in the seventh, setting up Daniel Bard to get out of his first of two jams with a pop out to third. In the eighth, Bard would again find himself looking for the last out with two men on, this time getting Kurt Suzuki to ground out to second. Jonathan Papelbon, featuring an impressive slider, recorded a clean save, giving the Sox a much needed win.

Tim Wakefield takes the mound against Dallas Braden tomorrow in by far the most dangerous game of the series for the Sox. They're gonna need to hit the Oakland ace and play some good defense behind Wake if they want a chance to sweep.