Facebook Twitter

Dice-K blitzes Royals in debut

SHARE Dice-K blitzes Royals in debut
Boston pitcher Diasuke Matsuzaka delivers a pitch Thursday against the Kansas City Royals.

Boston pitcher Diasuke Matsuzaka delivers a pitch Thursday against the Kansas City Royals.

Charlie Riedel, Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Dice-K was more than OK.

With millions of early rising viewers keeping track on Japanese television, Daisuke Matsuzaka struck out 10 in seven innings in his major league debut Thursday to lead the Boston Red Sox over the Kansas City Royals 4-1.

Matsuzaka (1-0) allowed six hits, including a sixth-inning homer by David DeJesus, and walked one in his first game in the major leagues, his fastball clocked at 95 mph.

His famed array of fastballs, changeups and breaking pitches at times was dazzling. Flashing a reddish-orange glove during his slow-motion windup, he retired 10 batters in a row during one stretch starting with the final out of the first inning. He struck out the side in the fourth on 14 pitches.

He also proved himself a skillful fielder, pouncing off the mound three times to field weak grounders.

Matsuzaka left the Seibu Lions to sign a $52 million, six-year contract with the Red Sox, who bid $51,111,111 for his rights.

The crowd of 23,170, bundled on a 36-degree day, booed Matsuzaka in the first when he stepped behind the mound and started doing half jumping-jacks, snapping his heals together in the air.

With about 200 media chronicling his moves, Matsuzaka gave up a single to DeJesus on his third pitch. He walked Mark Teahen with one out, then got Emil Brown to ground into a double play, Matsuzaka didn't allow another runner until Alex Gordon singled leading off the fifth.

DeJesus homered on Matsuzaka's second pitch of the sixth. Estaben German followed with a single, and Matsuzaka's shoulders seemed to droop, and pitching coach John Farrell visited the mound. German was caught stealing as Teahen took a called third strike, Brown doubled off the left-field wall, but Gordon took a called third strike, the first of three straight strikeouts.

Matsuzaka, who wasn't satisfied with his spring-training performances, threw 74 of 108 pitches for strikes. The 26-year-old right-hander, 108-60 with a 2.95 ERA and 1,355 strikeouts for Seibu, did not have to face two of Kansas City's top hitters: Mike Sweeney and Mark Grudzielanek were given the day off following a night game.

J.C. Romero and Jonathan Papelbon finished, with Papelbon striking out two of three batters for his first save.

Zack Greinke (0-1), who missed almost all of last season due to social anxiety disorder, struck out seven in seven innings, allowing two runs and eight hits.

Manny Ramirez had an RBI double in the first, and Julio Lugo doubled in the fifth, stole third and scored on catcher John Buck's throwing error.

Boston added two runs in the eighth on Joel Peralta's wild pitch with a runner on third and Coco Crisp's RBI single, his first hit in 10 at-bats this season.

WHITE SOX 4, INDIANS 3: At Chicago, Roberto Hernandez (0-1) hit A.J. Pierzynski with a pitch with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, forcing in the winning run. The White Sox got their first win of the season on a day when starter Mark Buehrle was forced out in the second inning when he was hit in the left forearm by Ryan Garko's line drive. X-rays were negative. Bobby Jenks (1-0) pitched 1 1/3 innings for the victory.

DEVIL RAYS 7, YANKEES 6: At New York, Alex Rodriguez flopped in another key at-bat and the Devil Rays spoiled Andy Pettitte's return to the Yankees. Elijah Dukes hit his second homer in two major league games and Tampa Bay took the lead in the eighth inning on a wild pitch and held on for only its fourth road victory since July 1.

ATHLETICS 4, ANGELS 3: At Anaheim, Mike Piazza hit his first home run as a full-time designated hitter, connecting against Francisco Rodriguez with two outs in the ninth inning to lift the Oakland Athletics over the Los Angeles Angels.

Piazza, who has hit the most home runs as a catcher in major league history, drove a 1-1 pitch just to the right of dead center field for his first homer in 22 career at-bats at Angel Stadium.


BRAVES 8, PHILLIES 4: At Philadelphia, Chuck James gave up one run in five innings, Kelly Johnson hit a two-run homer and Atlanta completed a three-game sweep of Philadelphia. Atlanta is 3-0 for the first time since opening with seven straight wins in 1994, but the Phillies are 0-3 — all at home. James (1-0) struck out five and allowed six hits. Adam Eaton (0-1) gave up eight runs — seven earned — and seven hits over 4 2/3 inning in his first start since signing a $24.5 million, three-year contract.

REDS 5, CUBS 2: At Cincinnati, Michael Barrett's passed ball let in the tiebreaking run in the seventh as the Reds took two of three in their opening series. Bob Howry (0-1) gave up pinch-hitter Jeff Conine's single that tied it with two outs in the seventh, then walked Ryan Freel. Will Ohman came on and threw a wild pitch with Adam Dunn at the plate. Barrett then compounded the mistake by letting a low, sinking pitch deflect off the end of his mitt and skitter to the backstop.

DIAMONDBACKS 4, NATIONALS 3: At Washington, Chris Young hit a two-run single in the first inning and Orlando Hudson homered in the third to help Arizona get the win.

The Diamondbacks had a 4-0 lead by the third inning, and Edgar Gonzalez (1-0) and four relievers made it stand up. It helped that the Nationals went 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

GIANTS 5, PADRES 3: At San Francisco, Bruce Bochy avoided beginning 0-fer against his former club, and the San Francisco Giants avoided their first 0-3 start in 23 years.

Barry Bonds had an RBI double, Ray Durham hit a go-ahead two-run single after a walk to Bonds in the decisive fifth, and Matt Morris pitched six strong innings in the Giants' 5-3 victory over the San Diego Padres.