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Back From DL, Dice-K Has Best Start Of Season As Red Sox Defeat Royals

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Daisuke Matsuzaka (Jared Wickerham.Getty Images)

Daisuke Matsuzaka (Jared Wickerham.Getty Images)

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BOSTON (AP) _ Daisuke 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.

The Red Sox took three of four games in the wraparound series
and won for the second time in three games since trading Adrian
Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford in a salary-dumping,
nine-player deal to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday.

Jacoby Ellsbury had a solo homer and double for Boston, which
opens a nine-game West Coast trip Tuesday night against the Los
Angles Angels.

Matsuzaka (1-3), on the DL since early July with a strained neck
muscle, gave up an unearned run and five hits, walking two and
striking out six over seven innings in just his sixth start of the
season.

It was the first time Matsuzaka’s pitched more than six innings.

He began the season on the DL after ulnar collateral surgery in
June last year.

The Red Sox won for just the seventh time in 19 games.

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.

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 1-all.

NOTES: Red Sox manager Bobby 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 it
might end, it was the 782nd consecutive sellout at Fenway Park.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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