"It was almost a little backwards of some of his starts," Sox manager Terry Francona said of Matsuzaka's outing. "Early on he pounded the zone, a lot of strikes. I thought he missed over the middle and up on a team that can really make you pay when you throw the ball in the middle.
"The walks weren't there. The strikes were there but there were a lot of pitches, a lot of deep counts. Anybody starts out 0-2, 1-2, and can work himself back into 3-2 and then you need to make a real good pitch. Especially against a lineup like Texas. Sometimes when he's working behind in the count, you see less runs than when he's working ahead. It's a little hard to explain sometimes."
Matsuzaka, who has lost his past four starts at Fenway dating back to Sept. 28, 2008, had season highs in innings, pitches, hits allowed and strikeouts, and tied his season high in runs allowed, as his record fell to 1-4, one more loss than he had all of last season, and his ERA jumped to 7.33.
"I do have some thoughts on [my struggles], but I'm not sure if it's something I can improve on right away," Matsuzaka said through interpreter Masa Hoshino. "But the opponents' batting average is something I would like to focus on."
Last season, Matsuzaka led the league with a .211 opponents' average.
Rangers starter Vicente Padilla, who cleared waivers on Friday, held the Red Sox in check for seven innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits and four walks with four strikeouts.
"We certainly wanted to get to him early," Francona said. "He's real tough on right-handers, which we knew going in and he showed that again [Sunday]. There's some deception. There's a lot of movement on his pitches, and he's very
tough on right-handed hitters."
Only Kevin Youkilis (1-for-3), David Ortiz (1-for-4) and Mark Kotsay (2-for-3) notched hits off Padilla, who is holding right-handers to a .207 average entering the
game. Youkilis was the only righty to get a hit off Padilla (4-3, 5.22 ERA).
The Rangers added a run in the second as David Murphy, who singled, went to second on Marlon Byrd's single and scored on Omar Vizquel's single to left. Murphy's double in the third scored Young, who had singled, and Cruz, who doubled.
The Sox got on the board in the third, as Jason Varitek led off with a walk and went to second on Mark Kotsay's single.
Both runners scored when second baseman Ian Kinsler misplayed Jacoby Ellsbury's hard grounder, cutting the Rangers' lead to 4-2. Ellsbury later left with a right shoulder strain.
Kotsay's shot into the right-field seats in the fifth -- his first home run of the season and first in a Boston uniform -- brought the Sox within a run, but they would get no closer.
"I had four at-bats previous to today [and went 0-for-4]," said Kotsay, who was activated from the disabled list before Tuesday's game and made his first start of the season Sunday. "I just said, 'You try to get comfortable as quickly as possible and take good at-bats.' I had four previous at-bats and didn't have any results and fortunately, I had two results and two hits [today]. But they were pretty much meaningless [because] we didn't win."
Through the first six innings, the Sox had three frames end as runners were either picked off or caught stealing. In the
first, Youkilis was picked off second. In the second, Jason Bay was caught attempting to steal second, and in the sixth, David Ortiz was thrown out trying to swipe second.
"It's baseball; I mean, it happens," Youkilis said. "Jason Bay got thrown out because it was a 96-mph fastball and a great throw [by Rangers catcher Taylor Teagarden]. [Padilla] throws an offspeed pitch, he's probably safe. It's just baseball, and it's going to happen like that and you cant' do anything about it.
"I don't remember the last time I got picked off, so maybe that's just one time it'll happen in my career and it'll never happen again. It was just a miscommunication thing ... just with two outs, you try to get a bigger lead, and I just had a lapse there and I should have got back."
Cruz's home run snapped Okajima's 16 1/3-scoreless inning streak, going back to April 28, the longest such streak
for a Red Sox pitcher this season.