Final

Series: Game 1 of 3

Boston leads 1-0 (as of 5/17)

Game 1: Friday, May 16
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Game 1: Saturday, May 17
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Game 2: Saturday, May 17
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Game 3: Sunday, May 18
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Brewers 3

(20-22, 9-13 away)

Red Sox 5

(25-19, 15-5 home)

    3:55 PM ET, May 17, 2008

    Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts 

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    W: D. Matsuzaka (7-0)

    L: J. Suppan (2-3)

    S: J. Papelbon (12)

    Ortiz homers, Dice-K bullies Brewers as Red Sox end slump

    BOSTON (AP) -- Daisuke Matsuzaka, known for his deliberate pace on the mound, didn't hesitate when asked whether he's becoming the ace of Boston's staff.

    "I want to keep winning," he said, smiling briefly to an interpretor. "But I think Boston's ace is Josh Beckett."

    The Japanese right-hander could stand to be a little less modest these days. He held Milwaukee to a pair of unearned runs pitching into the seventh inning on Saturday, and David Ortiz hit a three-run homer to help the Red Sox beat the Brewers 5-3 in the opener of a doubleheader sweep.

    Matsuzaka (7-0) gave up seven hits over 6 2/3 innings and tied the Angels' Joe Saunders for the AL lead in wins. Dice-K held the Brewers scoreless until two outs in the seventh, when Rickie Weeks reached on a fielding error and Mike Cameron homered to left.

    He's two wins away from tying Beckett's 9-0 start last season.

    "He got into a rhythm as the game progressed," Boston manager Terry Francona said.

    Mike Lowell hit a two-run homer and doubled in a pair of runs as Boston survived a battle of bumbling infielders in the 7-6 nightcap. The teams' infielders combined for seven errors -- four by the Brewers -- the most in a game this season.

    Jason Varitek added a pair of doubles for the Red Sox in the opener, who avoided matching their longest losing streak this season. Boston had lost its previous four games to close a 10-game trip.

    Manny Ramirez, two homers shy of becoming the 24th player in major league history to hit 500, singled and was hit by a pitch.

    Ortiz homered into the first row of the seats above the Green Monster in the second off Brewers starter Jeff Suppan (2-3), driving in Julio Lugo and Jacoby Ellsbury and extending the Red Sox lead to 4-0.

    Matsuzaka walked the first batter he faced -- an increasingly familiar refrain for a starter averaging 4.2 walks per game -- but settled down after that. He escaped a jam in the sixth with runners on second and third and no outs, striking out Corey Hart and J.J. Hardy before Joe Dillon flied out.

    "I guess I've stopped thinking I'm a pitcher that can paint the corners," said Matsuzaka, who walked eight in five innings two starts ago. "I'm throwing a little less there."

    The Red Sox have won Matsuzaka's last 11 starts.

    Brewers manager Ned Yost said the sixth inning was the key.

    "One inning we had the bases loaded and didn't score," he said. "We got the pitch count up high and that was a nice inning to battle through -- make him throw pitches and got his pitch count up."

    Jonathan Papelbon got the final three outs for his 12th save, despite giving up a solo homer to Ryan Braun with two out.

    Suppan gave up four runs on nine hits in six innings, and lost for the third time in four starts. The Brewers have lost three straight overall.

    "I missed quite a few pitches when I needed it," Suppan said. "That's the way I look at it."

    After retiring the first two batters in the first, Suppan walked Ortiz, hit Ramirez on the left hand and allowed Kevin Youkilis' single. J.D. Drew then walked to give Boston a 1-0 lead.

    Suppan wound up throwing 31 pitches in the inning.

    Game notes


    Arizona's Brandon Webb leads the majors with nine wins. ... Boston had lost five straight in late April. ... Francona said before the game that LHP Hideki Okajimi has been bothered by a sore wrist. ... Boston RHP Curt Schilling, rehabbing from shoulder weakness since spring training, threw from 90 feet Friday. ... Yost switched his lineup a couple of hours before game time, swapping Fielder from 1B to DH with Dillon to avoid playing Fielder in the field for two games.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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