Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz said he "got chills" when the crowd at Oriole Park gave him a loud, standing ovation on his way off the field after a strong 6 1/3-inning performance against the Boston Red Sox.
"It's a great feeling," Matusz said. "I've come a long way since last year, when it was the opposite, when people were on their feet booing. It's really special to be able to work as I have and be able to come back and get back to being my normal self, be able to see the support from the fans. There's no better feeling."
Matusz certainly appears to have righted himself after a rocky April, and Tuesday night, he delivered what he felt was his best performance of the young season. He gave up just a run on two hits and tied his career high with nine strikeouts to even his record at 4-4.
"I'd have to say so," Matusz said. "I was pounding the zone, getting ahead and putting guys away today. I mixed it up really well. I had all four pitches going for me, and [the] defense was solid."
He said the high strikeout total was the result of staying in the right part of the strike zone and having command of several pitches.
"I was keeping the ball down,'' he said. "I had a great slider, curveball today and was able to work in and out with the fastball. So when you have all those things going, it makes for a good night." The only costly pitch was a fastball to Orioles-killer Kevin Youkilis, who returned from the disabled list to launch a solo home run in the fourth inning. "It was away -- a two-seamer away -- but it was up,'' he said. "He was able to get extended, and he took care of it. It's a pitch I'd like to have back, but I was able to work through it and attack the zone after."