Daisuke Matsuzaka, making his return to the mound after missing the last 48 games on the disabled list, recorded his first victory of the season in Monday’s 5-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals
Matsuzaka (1-3, 5.10 ERA), who was activated from the DL Monday, went seven strong innings and allowed one run on five hits and a pair of walks while striking out six batters before an announced Fenway Park crowd of 37,506.
It was a vast improvement over Matsuzaka’s last start July 2 in a 6-1 loss at Oakland, where he lasted 1-plus innings after giving up five runs on four hits, including a solo homer in the first and a 3-run shot in the second inning. The next day, Matsuzaka, who missed the first 58 games of the season on the DL recuperating from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, was placed on the 15-day DL with a right upper trapezius strain.
Matsuzaka allowed Jarrod Dyson to reach on a leadoff walk in the first inning. Dyson stole second, went to third on a fielding error by second baseman Dustin Pedroia on Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s pick-off throw to second, and scored on Alex Gordon’s sacrifice fly to right, giving the Royals a 1-0 lead.
Matsuzaka shut out the visitors over his next six scoreless frames, allowing five hits and a walk.
Jacoby Ellsbury (who went 2-for-4 with 2 runs scored) tied the score, 1-1, with his solo homer (his second overall of the season) off Royals starter Luke Hochevar (7-12).
Cody Ross (2-for-4) broke the stalemate in the third when he hit a two-run single to left, scoring Scott Podsednik, who singled to right, and Pedroia, who hit an infield single.
The Sox tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the sixth when Ross doubled to left to score Ellsbury, who reached with a towering double off the wall himself. James Loney, acquired from Dodgers in Saturday’s blockbuster nine-player trade, hit an RBI single to left, scoring Ross to make it 5-1.
Clayton Mortensen and Vicente Padilla entered to combine on a scoreless eighth and Andrew Bailey entered in the ninth to clinch it for the Red Sox (62-67), who now embark for a nine-game West Coast swing to Los Angeles, Oakland and Seattle