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Rays vs. Red Sox: Daisuke Matsuzaka Struggles Early, Allows 7 Runs Through Two Innings

The Tampa Bay Rays entered tonight’s game against the Boston Red Sox and Daisuke Matsuzaka in the midst of a huge offensive slump. Their entire offense has hit .163/.232/.284 so far this season, good for a collective .515 OPS, and they’ve only scored one run in five of their first nine games. With Manny Ramirez retiring and Evan Longoria injured, the Rays were facing some serious question marks about their offense.

It took all of two innings, but it appears Daisuke Matsuzaka has already solved those problems. The Rays took the lead in the top of the first innings on a solo homerun by Johnny Damon, and then the unloaded on Dice-K in the top of the second and scored six more runs.

Ben Zobrist led off the inning with a weak groundball double up the left field line, and then B.J. Upton and Felipe Lopez loaded the bases with a walk and a single. At this point, the hits came fast and often: John Jaso doubled off the Green Monster, Reid Brignac singled sharply to center, and Sam Fuld brought the remaining baserunners home with a homerun just inside the Pesky Pole.

After allowing a hit and a walk to start off the top of the third inning, Red Sox manager Terry Francona pulled Matsuzaka and brought in Tim Wakefield. The Rays currently lead the Red Sox 7-0.

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.