That hit scored two of the Red Sox's six runs in the inning.
"We'll take RBIs from anybody," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "I don't know that you can count on that coming into a game. I mean, he said he was a good hitter, but ... during the season, I think he batted in two separate games. Once was against Randy Johnson, and he just kind of smiled after he struck him out. But I'll tell you what, he competes, and putting the bat on the ball gave us a chance."
A quick look back at Matsuzaka's hitting history before he joined American baseball suggests that this burst of clutch hitting isn't all that surprising.
While playing for Japan's Seibu Lions, Matsuzaka was 5-for-20 for his career. In 2006, he went 3-for-9 with a double, a home run and three RBIs.
Asked if he was always a "great hitter," Matsuzaka took the modest route.
"I can't quite say that," he said. "I'm a confident hitter, but I love hitting."
And pitching, too. Kazuo Matsui, Matsuzaka's friend, fellow countryman and former Seibu teammate, led off the Rockies' half of the opening frame with a base hit to right-center. He reached second on a J.D. Drew error but advanced no further, beginning what turned into five strong shutout frames for Matsuzaka.
"I knew that if the first pitch was a fastball, Kazuo was probably going to come after it, so I knew I had to pitch to a good location," Matsuzaka said. "That pitch, I know that pitch wasn't his favorite spot, but he did hit it well. But after that, I guess he helped me out. Even though I allowed a runner on, I didn't put too much pressure on myself after that, either."
Matsuzaka has handled pressure quite well at this late juncture in the postseason. He threw five innings in the pennant clincher against the Indians in the American League Championship Series, and on Saturday, he helped move his team within one win of a World Series championship.
"I think that I felt more pressure going into Game 7 of the LCS, so today was easier mentally," he said. "But the team won, and I didn't wind up being the one to stop our momentum. So, in that sense, I feel very relieved."