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Fit-again Matsuzaka recovers to claim win

Kyodo, AP

Daisuke Matsuzaka said his elbow is fine after surviving a rough first inning to pick up his fourth win of the season as the Boston Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 9-5 on Sunday.

In his first start since coming out of a game on April 29 with a stiff right elbow, Matsuzaka allowed three runs on three hits, a walk and two stolen bases in the opening frame, throwing 34 pitches.

He settled down afterward, giving up just two more hits through the sixth inning including a solo home run to Danny Valencia in the fourth. Matsuzaka struck out four.

Matsuzaka, who made his first major league relief appearance during the wee hours of Thursday’s 13-inning loss to the Los Angeles Angels, said his elbow felt good after throwing 102 pitches.

“I was favoring the elbow in the first inning because I wasn’t sure how it would respond,” Matsuzaka said. “From the second inning on, I just focused on following all the way through on the pitches because I knew then the elbow was going to be fine.”

He was not, however, happy with the start overall apart from the fact that he won as the Red Sox defeated the Twins for the second straight day at Fenway Park.

“It’s not unusual for me to throw a lot of pitches in the first inning but even then, to give up three runs right off the bat isn’t good,” Matsuzaka said.

Minnesota fielders had three errors, including two with two outs. After taking a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, it was a frustrating way to lose a game.

“You can’t give teams extra chances,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. “That’s what happened today. The game should have been a close one.”

Yankees 12, Rangers 5

In Arlington, Texas, Derek Jeter homered twice after going 62 games without a long ball and Curtis Granderson went deep again as the Yankees beat the Rangers despite an erratic outing by CC Sabathia.

Jeter had gone 259 at-bats without a homer since last Aug. 24 before leading off the fifth with a liner that barely cleared the 13-km wall into the Rangers’ bullpen in right-center.

Jeter didn’t wait long for his next homer, leading off the seventh against Arthur Rhodes (1-2) with a deeper shot into the bullpen to break a 4-all tie.

Angels 6, Indians 5

In Anaheim, Peter Bourjos drove in the tying run in the eighth inning with an infield single, Erick Aybar followed with a two-run double and Los Angeles beat Cleveland to give Mike Scioscia his 1,000th victory as a major league manager.

Tigers 5, Blue Jays 2

In Toronto, Brad Penny pitched well into the eighth inning as Detroit followed Justin Verlander’s no-hitter by beating the Blue Jays.

Rays 5, Orioles 3

In Baltimore, B.J. Upton drove in four runs as Tampa Bay beat the Orioles for a three-game sweep.

Athletics 5, Royals 2

In Kansas City, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Kurt Suzuki each homered for Oakland and Conor Jackson collected three hits to help Tyson Ross win his first game in four starts.

White Sox 5, Mariners 2

In Seattle, Paul Konerko returned to the White Sox lineup and equaled his career high with five hits, including a single in the 10th inning that helped Chicago beat the Mariners.

Ichiro Suzuki went 1-for-4 for Seattle with one RBI.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Marlins 8, Nationals 0

In Miami, Anibal Sanchez took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and struck out a career-high 11 Sunday to help the Marlins salvage the final game of their series.

Braves 5, Phillies 2

In Philadelphia, Jair Jurrjens pitched neatly into the seventh inning and Atlanta got home runs from Freddie Freeman, Alex Gonzalez and pinch hitter Eric Hinske.

Reds 2, Cubs 0

In Chicago, Johnny Cueto was strong in his season debut, allowing five hits and pitching into the seventh for Cincinnati.

Kosuke Fukudome went 1-for-3 for the Cubs.

Giants 3, Rockies 0

In San Francisco, Ryan Vogelsong and two relievers combined on a three-hitter and the Giants completed their first series sweep of the season.

Cardinals 3, Brewers 1

In St. Louis, unbeaten Kyle McClellan worked into the ninth inning to become the NL’s third five-game winner and the Cardinals’ bullpen labored to get the final three outs.

Dodgers 4, Mets 2

In New York, Andre Ethier got back on track with a two-run homer, Clayton Kershaw struck out eight and Los Angeles snapped a four-game losing streak.

Pirates 5, Astros 4

In Pittsburgh, Ryan Doumit hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning and the Pirates improved to .500 this late in a season for the first time in six years.

Padres 4, Diamondbacks 3

In San Diego, Jorge Cantu hit a three-run homer and Aaron Harang pitched seven solid innings to lead the Padres.