A misplay by Carl Crawford led to the second run of the night for the Boston Red Sox in their 2-0 win.

Despite a wild and crazy 1st inning, Daisuke Matsuzaka had 6 no-hit innings in his 7 innings of work as the Boston Red Sox went on to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-0 in front of 35,001 at Tropicana Field. The win gives the Red Sox a 1-0 advantage in the best-of-7 ALCS.

Despite 4 walks, Dice-K gave the Red Sox a strong outing on the bump.

Despite 4 walks, Dice-K gave the Red Sox a strong outing.

Matsuzaka gave up 4 hits and 4 walks while striking out 9 on on 115 pitches. Hideki Okajima retired the only batter he faced and Justin Masterson got a double play out of the only batter he faced. Jonathan Papelbon worked a perfect 9th to earn his second save of the postseason.

Kevin Youkilis broke out of his 0-for-17 regular season funk against James Shields with 2 hits against him, finishing with 3 total on the night and an RBI. Dustin Pedroia, J.D. Drew, Jason Bay and Mark Kotsay had the other hits for the Red Sox and Jed Lowrie drove in the other run for the Red Sox.

Shields started the game with a strikeout of Jacoby Ellsbury and then issued a walk to Pedroia. After David Ortiz flew out, Youk hit a ground rule double down the line in right. Shields escaped the inning with no damage done as he struck out Drew.

Houdini Matsuzaka made an appearance in the bottom of the 1st.

He started out by walking Akinori Iwamura. B.J. Upton then flew out and Dice-K walked Carlos Peña. He then struck out Evan Longoria but issued his third walk of the inning to Carl Crawford. As he’s done all season, Houdini Matsuzaka showed up and got Cliff Floyd to ground out.

Both the Red Sox and Rays went down 1-2-3 in the 2nd inning and Shields sent the Sox down in order in the 3rd. Matsuzaka worked around a 2-out walk to Peña in the bottom half by striking out Longoria for the second time on the night.

Big Papi grounded out to first base to start the 4th and Youk followed with a single. He wouldn’t be on the basepaths long as Drew grounded into a 4-6-3 inning-ending twin killing.

Dice-K was in a groove in the 4th as he struck out two of the three batters he faced as he had now retired 7 in a row.

The Red Sox finally cracked through against Shields in the 5th.

Jed Lowrie watches his sacrifice fly in the 5th inning of Game 1 of the ALCS.

Jed Lowrie watches his sacrifice fly in the 5th inning of Game 1 of the ALCS.

Bay worked a leadoff walk and went to third on a Kotsay check-swing double. Lowrie put the Red Sox up 1-0 as his sacrifice fly easily scored Bay and moved Kotsay to third. Kotsay would be left there though as Jason Varitek grounded out to second with the infield in and Ellsbury popped out.

More of the same for Dice-K in the 5th as he made it 10 in a row retired upping his strike out total to 8.

Both Shields and Matsuzaka set the side down in order in the 6th as the game headed to the 7th with the Red Sox up 1-0.

Drew led off the 7th with a single and went to second on a Bay single. Shields got out of the trouble though as Kotsay popped out, Lowrie struck out and Tek popped out.

The Rays finally got their first hit of the night in the 7th inning when Crawford led off with a single. Floyd followed that with a single as Crawford moved over to third base. Dice-K got the first out of the inning as Dioner Navarro flew out to short left as Crawford had to hold up at third. He struck out Gabe Gross for the second out and escaped the jam by getting Jason Bartlett to ground into a fielder’s choice.

J.D. Drew lays on the ground after being hit a by a Grant Balfour pitch.

J.D. Drew lays on the ground after being hit a by a Grant Balfour pitch in the 8th inning.

Ellsbury grounded back to Shields to start the 8th and Pedroia chased him with a single as Joe Maddon went to J.P. Howell to face Big Papi. While Big Papi was at the plate, Pedroia stole second and Howell ended up walking Papi. Youk then lined a shot to left that went off the glove of Crawford and Pedroia scored from second to make it 2-0 and Big Papi stopped at third base and Youk at second with a double. Maddon once again went to the bullpen, this time for Grant Balfour and he promptly hit Drew with a pitch up-and-in that nearly hit his head to load up the bases. Balfour came back to strike out Bay and he got Kotsay to pop out to escape further damage in the inning.

Dice-K was back on the mound for the 8th and gave up a leadoff single to Iwamura and wild pitch by Dice-K with Upton at the plate moved Iwamura to second. Upton sent a shot down the 3rd base line that Youk knocked down but he had trouble finding the ball. Terry Francona then went to his bullpen for Okajima. On a 3-0 count, Oki got Peña to fly out to short right field and then Francona went to the bullpen again, this time for Masterson. He came and got Longoria to ground into a 6-4-3 inning ending double play.

Balfour got consecutive fly outs to center by Lowrie and Tek to start the 9th before giving way to the youngster David Price. He came in and got Ellsbury to fly out to left.

Papelbon came on for the Red Sox in the 9th and struck out Crawford to start things. He got Floyd to foul out and struck out Navarro to end the game.

This is a huge win for the Red Sox as now the pressure is on the Rays to earn a split in the first two games. Josh Beckett takes the mound for the Red Sox in Game 2 and we can only hope he returns to his normal October self after a bad outing in the ALDS.

Notes and musings:

Red Sox @ Rays 2008 ALCS Game 1 Boxscore

This is the 5th time that the ALCS has featured 2 teams from the same division, all 5 involving A.L. East Division clubs.

In the ALCS, the Red Sox are 4-4 in 8 previous trips, defeating Oakland in 1975, California in 1986, the Yankees in 2004, and Cleveland in 2007. The losses have come to Oakland in 1988 and 1990 and the Yankees in 1999 and 2003. Boston’s 9 ALCS appearances tie Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis for 4th most: 12—New York Yankees and 11—Atlanta and Oakland.

The Red Sox are the 1st team to advance to the ALCS in consecutive seasons since Boston and New York met in both the 2003 and 2004 ALCS.

The Red Sox are in the ALCS for the 4th time in 6 seasons, having previously participated in 2003, 2004, and 2007.

Mike Timlin ranks 2nd all-time with 23 appearances in LCS play, 2 behind Mariano Rivera and is 4th all-time with 44 post-season outings.

The Red Sox were 4-17 indoors in 2008: 1-1 vs. Oakland at the Tokyo Dome; 0-3 at Toronto; 1-8 at Tampa Bay; 1-3 at Minnesota; and 1-2 in Houston.

Jonathan Papelbon pitched 5.0 scoreless innings with a save and win in 3 games in the ALDS. He extended his career post-season scoreless string to 19.2 innings in 12 games, the 2nd most career playoff innings without allowing a run behind Joe Niekro at 20.0 scoreless innings.