Matsuzaka Watch: Episode 21I'll cut right to the chase. Complete game. 14 strikeouts. 140 pitches thrown.
Do you think the Lions remember that they have a closer? At any rate, what's done is done and our hero racked up his 14th victory of the season against 4 losses with a solid 5-3 victory over the Orix Buffaloes. Everything was working for Daisuke tonight as he shredded the Orix hitters to the tune of 13 out of 14 strikeouts of the swinging variety. At several points he was hitting 95 on the radar gun. It helped that he was able to work from ahead for almost the duration of the ballgame thanks to the Lions hit parade in the 2nd and 3rd innings that netted 4 runs and put the club up for good.
The Buffaloes were game, however, and did their best to keep things close with 2 runs in the bottom of the 3rd inning and another run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 7th. Matsuzaka was rarely in real trouble as he went 1-2-3 in 5 out of the 9 innings he pitched, and would have finished 1-2-3 in the 9th as well, were it not for an error by shortstop Yasayuki Kataoka. The ace was at his dominant best, striking out the numbers 2, 3, and 4 batters in the 8th including former Yankee Karim Garcia, and 39 year old former slugger Kazuhiro Kiyohara.
The 14 strikeouts marked the 44th time in his young career that he's fanned double digit batters, putting him 5th all-time in that accomplishment. Here's what he's done to date this season, and a little video to enjoy (click stats to enlarge):