One night after Stephen Strasburg's overpowering performance, fellow Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez delivered a gem of his own, stifling the Red Sox over 6 1/3 innings in which he allowed just three hits as Washington claimed a road victory in Fenway Park by a 4-2 count. The loss dropped the Sox back below .500, at 29-30, for the first time since May 25.

Ryan Kalish is once again a baseball player, rather than someone who requires the special label of a rehabber.

The Red Sox activated Kalish from the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Pawtucket, a move that reflects the fact that the 24-year-old is once again healthy in his return from neck and then shoulder surgeries in late-2011. He had been in Pawtucket, but as a member of the big league roster (on the 60-day disabled list) on a rehab assignment.

With left-hander Gio Gonzalez on the mound for the Nationals, the Red Sox will lean right in their lineup behind starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, back on a major league mound for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery 365 days ago. As such, Kevin Youkilis will play first with Will Middlebrooks at third base, while Adrian Gonzalez takes on duties in right field, thus relegating Ryan Sweeney to the bench. With Marlon Byrd being designated for assignment, Darnell McDonald will get the start in center field. Kelly Shoppach will be behind the plate for Matsuzaka.

Making his first start with Triple-A Pawtucket since being sent down from the Red Sox earlier in the week, Daniel Bard allowed three runs in his one-inning start while pitching against the Indianapolis Indians Friday night at McCoy Stadium.

Bard, who finished throwing 26 pitches (16 strikes), hit two batters, gave up a pair of hits and struck out two.

According to a major league source, Red Sox outfielder Marlon Byrd will be designated for assignment prior to Saturday's game in order to clear a roster spot for Daisuke Matsuzaka, who will be activated to start the contest against the Nationals. Byrd met with manager Bobby Valentine and members of the Red Sox front office following Friday night's 7-4 loss to the Nationals, in which Byrd went 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter.

Stephen Strasburg became the youngest visiting player since at least 1918 to record 13 strikeouts at Fenway, while Bryce Harper joined a very short list of 19-year-olds to homer as visitors in Boston, as the Nationals claimed a 7-4 victory over the Red Sox.

In a statement through the team, Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka said that his return to a big league mound -- 365 days after undergoing Tommy John surgery last June 10 -- will be "emotional."

"Saturday's game will be a special game. It represents a new start for me," said Matsuzaka, who will be facing the Nationals. "It is going to be a very emotional day, but I have to remain calm and treat it like any other start I have had throughout my career."

In some ways, Adrian Gonzalez would seem like one of the few people in the world who can appreciate the phenomena of Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper.



PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- In his first appearance since being demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket, Daniel Bard allowed three runs over his only inning of work while facing the Indianapolis Indians at McCoy Stadium Friday night.

Bard, whose fastball topped out at 96 mph, but sat around 93-94 mph, finished throwing 25 pitches, 16 for strikes. The righty hit two batters, allowed a pair of hits, while striking out two.

Context, Adrian Gonzalez insisted, was important. There had been worse stretches in his career.