Pettitte, Yankees take series opener from Royals
Andy Pettitte beats Kansas City so often, even he has trouble keeping track.
The New York Yankees' left-hander allowed three hits over seven strong innings Friday, striking out six and walking one in a 4-1 victory that made him 8-0 in his last 12 starts against the Royals.
In 16 career decisions against Kansas City, Pettitte is 13-3. That's more wins against the Royals than any other active pitcher.
"To tell you the truth, I did not know that," said Pettitte (1-0). "I know they knocked me around pretty good last year in Yankee Stadium. I know I love pitching in this ballpark."
Sidney Ponson (0-1), who made 15 starts for New York last year, gave up four runs and six hits in six innings in his Royals' debut.
A capacity crowd of more than 38,000 came to see the unveiling of the newly renovated Kauffman Stadium, which underwent a $250 million facelift that made it virtually a new ballpark.
"They did a great job. It looks wonderful," said Pettitte, who was 3-0 in four spring starts. "I came out a few hours early and looked around. They did a great job with it."
Brian Bruney pitched a hitless eighth, and Mariano Rivera struck out two around an infield hit for his first save of the year. Fifty-six of Rivera's 483 saves have come in Pettitte wins.
"I thought Ponson did a good job, the way he battled," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "There were a couple of different times during the game it looked like he was about to lose it, but he regained it."
Only one ball was hit out of the infield by either team after Mark Teahen's inning-ending flyout in the sixth. With two outs in the ninth, Teahen got the Royals' fourth hit on a slow-roller to first.
Derek Jeter had an RBI grounder and Nick Swisher doubled home a run for the Yankees.
Pettitte walked only one. After issuing a walk in the second inning, he gave up his only run when Mike Jacobs' fly into shallow right glanced off the glove of Swisher for an RBI double.
"I was really upset because I did let the run score," said Swisher, who has six RBIs in the last two games. "I kept telling Andy, 'I'm going to get it back for you.' It just seems like every time I come to the plate, (Robinson) Cano is standing on first or second base. And the way Mr. Pettitte pitched today was just unbelievable. Tremendous."
New York evened its record at 2-2 following a pair of opening losses at Baltimore and a series-finale win at Camden Yards. The Yankees are on a nine-game trip before opening their new ballpark.
Festivities marking the reopening of the stadium and the start of the Royals' 40th season delayed the start for 32 minutes.
Jacobs said Pettitte's breaking ball was particularly effective.
"It looked like he was mixing in and out of the strike zone, going in and away on guys," he said.
Ponson got in trouble in the first when Johnny Damon singled, Mark Teixeira walked and Jorge Posada lined a two-run single past Jacobs at first.
Swisher doubled in the fourth and scored when Jeter hit into a forceout.
After giving up a leadoff double to Teixeira in the fifth, Ponson struck out Hideki Matsui, Posada and Swisher around a walk to Robinson Cano, all on called third strikes.
Kyle Farnsworth was booed during pregame ceremonies after giving up the game-losing, three-run homer to Jim Thome of the Chicago White Sox in Tuesday's opener. He entered in the seventh and struck out the side.
But nobody could stay up with Pettitte.
"It means that for four days I'm going to be fairly in a good mood instead of being miserable and wanting to get back out there," Pettitte said with a grin. "So for me at this point in my career, that's what it is. I'm just happy I could give us a good start. Hopefully we can get rolling and all of us will get going together."
Ponson's strikeout of Brett Gardner in the second inning was the 1,000th of his career. ... There was a moment of silence and flags flew at half-staff for Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, who died Wednesday night in a traffic accident. ... Outfielder Jose Guillen, who led the Royals with 93 RBIs last year, was placed on the 15-day DL with a partially torn hip flexor. He also led the Royals with 20 homers last year after signing a $36 million, three-year free agent contract. ... Pettitte has beaten the Royals more than any other non-AL East team.