"It seems pretty far away, to be honest with you," the Orioles left-hander said.
And then he took the mound on Saturday night and realized how close it actually is to home plate.
With the American flag blowing out over Fenway Park's famous left-field wall and five home runs headed in the same direction, Boston rallied in the seventh inning on three-run homers by Marco Scutaro and Kevin Youkilis and held on for a 7-6 victory over Baltimore.
"I hope it has something to do with our swings," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "But I think it has something to do with the weather."
Nine of the first 11 runs in the game scored on homers over the Monster, including Adam Jones' solo shot off Ramon Ramirez with the Orioles trailing 7-3 in the ninth. Nick Markakis doubled, then Jonathan Papelbon came in and gave up three straight singles before striking out Ty Wigginton and new call-up Rhyne Hughes.
"We had a couple of home runs," Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said. "But they had theirs with men on."
Wigginton had four hits, including a homer, and Luke Scott had three of Baltimore's season-high 17 hits. The Orioles lost their fifth straight game and 10th in a row against Boston; they are 2-16 and already 10 1/2 games back in the AL East.
Jason Varitek hit a solo shot for Boston, which has won four of five since starting the season 4-9. John Lackey (2-1) gave up three runs on 10 hits and two walks, striking out three in seven innings for his first victory in Fenway for the Red Sox.
"It's a tremendous job, if you get down early and get through seven," Varitek said.
The same could be said of Papelbon, who allowed an inherited runner and one of his own to score before putting runners on first and second. He struck out Wigginton and Hughes, each of them on a 3-2 pitch, to earn his fifth save.
"It would have been nice to find a hole there to tie the game up. I was amped up and looking for a fastball on the first pitch and he got ahead of me," Hughes said. "He made a good pitch. He got me. That's why he's one of the best closers in the game."
Hughes, called up earlier in the day from Triple-A, had an RBI single in his first major league at-bat and then singled again in his second.
"I thought he represented himself well," Trembley said. "He had his first hit in the big leagues. It looked like it was going to be a storybook ending."
Matt Albers (0-3) took the loss for the second straight night, facing four batters and getting just one out.
Matusz, the winning pitcher in both of the Orioles' victories this season, was looking to make it three out of three when he took a 3-1 lead into the seventh. To get a feel for the ballpark, he and Jeremy Guthrie came to the Red Sox-Rangers game on Thursday night and sat for a few innings in the Monster Seats.
"We watched the first couple of innings on the wall," Matusz said. "It was pretty cool. We're both big fans of the game."
Pinch-hitter David Ortiz struck out, but Scutaro homered onto the shelf above the wall in left-center to make it 4-3. After Dustin Pedroia doubled and Victor Martinez walked, Kam Mickolio came in and Youkilis hit a three-run shot down the left-field line to make it 7-3.
Lackey allowed eight runs in 3 1/3 innings in his previous start, against Tampa Bay on Monday.
Scott was hitless in 10 at-bats before his second-inning double. ... The Orioles optioned Justin Turner to Norfolk of the International League. ... The Red Sox made a trade with Pittsburgh, reacquiring OF Jonathan Van Every for a player to be named. OF Josh Reddick was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. Van Every played 18 games for the Red Sox over the past two seasons. ... Orioles catcher Matt Wieters lost Pedroia's foul popup in the first inning and it fell a few feet behind the dirt for no play. ... Pedroia, who had two hits, entered the day with one hit in his previous 24 at-bats. ... Boston RF J.D. Drew, who is batting .158, got the day off.