Making just his second start of the season and his first ever in a Red Sox uniform, the 28-year-old right-hander gave the Boston rotation a badly needed pick-me-up. Two weeks removed from allowing nine runs and 10 hits in a two-inning start for the Royals, Snyder allowed just four hits and three earned runs over five innings.
"I thought I threw the ball pretty well, a couple of mistakes ... thigh-high, middle-away fastballs that were hit out of the ballpark, but I rebounded pretty well. With this type of defense, it is easy to stay aggressive and try to stay ahead of guys," said Snyder, who allowed solo homers to Jose Vidro and Jose Guillen.
Snyder added that putting his June 8th outing in Kansas City behind him was key to his success Monday in Boston.
"It had been about 10 days since I had pitched and I was at home for five or six days, throwing against a wall," he said. "It's a little bit different than doing my normal routine in between starts, I suppose.
"I pitched two Thursdays ago. I was designated on [the following] Sunday morning. I flew to Miami, Fla., to visit my girlfriend," Snyder said.
After time to clear his head, he got a call from Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein last Friday, informing him that he had been claimed off waivers.
"I started shaking a little bit. It wasn't what I anticipated, obviously, but under the circumstances it was one of the best feelings I've ever had," Snyder said.
Snyder didn't show nerves Monday but instead pinpoint command with his sinking fastball, changeup and curveball all night.
"He moved his sinker in and out, elevated some [fastballs]," Sox catcher Jason Varitek said. "He threw a good curveball and some really good changeups and it was a very good outing."
Pitching in the same park where he made his big-league debut for Kansas City on May 1, 2003, the former Royals prospect didn't walk a batter while matching a career high with six strikeouts, last accomplished on May 26, 2003, at Oakland.
"He threw his breaking ball maybe a little more consistently than we expected and it set up his other pitches," Varitek said. "Under the circumstances, not being really stretched out and having a long layoff, I thought five pretty solid innings were [good]. He really did a good job."
Varitek was instrumental in helping Snyder get comfortable under tough circumstances.
"Jason Varitek behind the plate -- I can't say enough about his ability to discover my strengths and call the game that he called," Snyder said.
"We sat down and talked for a while. It was about what he was able to do and we sat there and talked through some things and made some adjustments during the game and he did and excellent job and had an idea of what he needs to do," added the Sox captain.
Francona came to the decision after five innings and 67 pitches (only 19 balls) that Snyder had more than done his job.
"He said he was starting to get there," Francona said. "He gave us five pretty good innings. Rather than send the guy out there in the sixth inning, he did his job and he was starting to feel it. It just didn't make sense to me. We were hoping to get 75 or 80 pitches and he was getting pretty close to [that figure] anyway."
It was his first win since last September 21, in relief against Detroit, and his third big league victory.
The Red Sox erased a 2-0 deficit in the second on RBI singles from Coco Crisp and Alex Cora. Following Jose Guillen's long homer over the Monster in left, the Red Sox took the lead for good in the fourth against Washington starter Tony Armas (6-4) when Gabe Kapler doubled home Crisp and Youkilis followed one out later with an RBI groundout.
The Red Sox added single runs in the seventh and eighth. Cora walked with the bases loaded in the seventh and Manny Ramirez crushed his 18th homer of the season over the Monster in the eighth to close out the scoring.
Jermaine Van Buren, Javier Lopez, Rudy Seanez and Mike Timlin each pitched a scoreless inning, with Timlin recording his first save of the season.
The Red Sox won their fourth straight and improved to 6-1 in Interleague Play this year while Washington fell to 4-3 against the American League.