Red Sox 5, Royals 1
All the offseason work, rehab starts and minor league outings
finally paid off for Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Matsuzaka returned from the disabled list with his best start of
the season and Cody Ross drove in three runs, leading the Boston
Red Sox to a 5-1 win over the Kansas City Royals on Monday.
Starting the season on the DL after Tommy John surgery in June,
Matsuzaka (1-3) earned his first big league win since May 16 of
The Japanese right-hander made eight rehab starts before he
rejoined the rotation in June, but went back on the DL in early
July with a strained neck muscle. Then it was back to the minors
for another five starts.
”I tried back in June and I didn’t get the results I wanted. I
didn’t feel like I’d be able to come back strong again this
season,” he said through a translator. ”I went back to my final
two rehab starts and threw the ball really well. I knew if I could
do that up here the results would come.”
Matsuzaka gave up an unearned run and five hits, walking two and
striking out six over seven innings in just his sixth start of the
The Red Sox took three of four in the wraparound series and won
for the second time in three games since trading Adrian Gonzalez,
Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Dodgers on Saturday in a
salary-dumping, nine-player deal.
”Obviously he’s going to get another start – two, three, four
or five,” Boston manager Bobby Valentine said. ”He might finish
strong throwing like that.”
Jacoby Ellsbury had a solo homer and a double for Boston, which
opens a nine-game West Coast trip Tuesday night against the Los
It was the first time Matsuzaka’s pitched more than six
”When I had to go back on the DL in July it was very
disappointing, especially when I didn’t expect my body to react the
way it did,” he said. ”But the encouraging part was it wasn’t my
elbow. I didn’t know if I’d be able to come back strong this year,
but I felt better than I did before I had Tommy John.”
The Red Sox won for just the seventh time in 19 games.
”He threw his slurvy slider inside on right-handers really
well,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. ”I mean he really executed
that pitch well a number of times. So when you’re sitting, looking
out, away on him and he throws that slider that starts at you and
breaks back on the corner of the plate, it keeps you off-balance
really well, and that’s what he did.”
Luke Hochevar (7-12) took the loss, giving up five runs and
eight hits in his second complete game this season.
Boston broke a 1-1 tie on Ross’ two-run single in the third.
Scott Podsednik and Dustin Pedroia each singled before Ross hit a
drive high off the Green Monster, but he was thrown out trying to
stretch it on Alex Gordon’s throw.
In the sixth, the Red Sox added two runs off Hochevar. Ross had
an RBI double off the left-field wall. He beat Gordon’s throw,
sliding into second before scoring when newly acquired James Loney
singled to make it 5-1.
Loney went 1 for 4 in his second game after coming in the trade
with Los Angeles.
Matsuzaka, in the final year of a six-year, $52 million
contract, mostly spotted his fastball with a slider and cutter to
keep the Royals hitters off balance.
He was most impressive when he worked out of a first-and-third,
one-out jam in the sixth, getting Mike Moustakas swinging on a
tailing 94 mph fastball to end the inning.
”He was throwing a good cutter,” Kansas City designated hitter
Billy Butler said. ”He was locating and had pretty good velocity
on his fastball whenever he needed it.”
The Royals took advantage of an error, scoring a run without a
hit to take a 1-0 lead in the first. Jarrod Dyson opened the game
with a walk, stole second and advanced when second baseman Pedroia
was charged with an error when he didn’t catch a somewhat high
throw. Gordon followed with a sacrifice fly.
Ellsbury’s homer in the bottom half, a drive that bounced on the
top of a short right-field wall and into the stands, tied it
NOTES: Valentine said he expects to see reliever Alfredo Aceves
with the team on the West Coast trip Tuesday. He was suspended on
Saturday for three games for conduct detrimental to the team. ”I
guess it’s just being responsible for your actions and
understanding that all actions have consequence,” Valentine said
before Monday’s game. ”It’s just a simple rule. I don’t have a lot
of rules, but one of the rules I stated early on was you don’t do
anything to embarrass yourself, your teammates or your
organization. That’s a rule.” … Gordon went 2 for 3, getting two
hits in all four games. … Boston placed DH David Ortiz back on
the 15-day DL because of lingering problems with his strained right
Achilles, but he hopes to play again this season. OF Ryan Kalish
was recalled from Pawtucket to take his spot. … The Royals begin
a 10-game homestand Tuesday against Justin Verlander and the
Detroit Tigers. … Despite some media reports that the streak
might end, it was the 782nd consecutive sellout at Fenway Park.