NEW YORK – Daisuke Matsuzaka received a rude welcome back to the major leagues on Friday as the right-hander took the loss after allowing five earned runs in five innings in the New York Mets’ 6-1 drubbing by the Detroit Tigers.
Matsuzaka, who signed with the Mets a day earlier after his release from the Cleveland Indians, gave up a solo shot to Torii Hunter in the first and a three-run homer to Miguel Cabrera in the second in his first start in the majors since last October.
Pitching after just three days of rest, the former Boston Red Sox star was pulled after throwing 86 pitches. He gave up six hits and a walk while striking out four.
“I was more nervous than I expected to be,” said Matsuzaka, who had pitched for Columbus, Cleveland’s Triple-A affiliate, year. “I never felt settled, which was a first for me.”
AL Central-leading Detroit may have been too much for Matsuzaka in his Mets debut.
The Tigers lead the big leagues in batting average and are second in runs scored. Cabrera, last year’s Triple Crown winner, is crushing opponents again this season, batting .356 with 41 home runs and 126 RBIs.
“I was thinking about how I wanted to pitch him from before the game, but it was hard to figure it out until you face him,” Matsuzaka said later, referring to Cabrera. “I don’t think it was a bad pitch, but he hit a home run off it.”
Down in the minors, the 32-year-old Matsuzaka was 5-8 with a 3.92 ERA.
“I wasted the first two innings, but I woke up after they got to me,” he said. “The catcher and I talked about throwing more breaking balls from the third. But the majors is where I wanted to be all long.”
The series resumes Saturday afternoon with a rematch of All-Star Game starters at Citi Field: Max Scherzer puts his 18-1 record on the line against New York ace Matt Harvey in a nationally televised game.
“You can’t beat that matchup,” Hunter said. “If you blink, you’re going to miss something.”
The Mets said it’s the first time All-Star Game starters will square off in a regular-season game during the same season, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau.
Nationals 11, Royals 10
In Kansas City, Jayson Werth hit a two-run homer, Bryce Harper drove in three runs and Washington rallied from a six-run deficit to get the win.
Dodgers 2, Red Sox 0
In Los Angeles, Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run homer with two outs in the fourth and Ricky Nolasco pitched eight innings of two-hit ball in a series-opening victory over Boston that began as a matchup between first-place teams.
Cardinals 3, Braves 1
In St. Louis, Adam Wainwright earned his NL-leading 15th win with his fifth complete game and had a key sacrifice fly to lead the Cardinals over Atlanta.
Matt Holliday’s 132-meter home run off Kris Medlen (10-12) snapped a sixth-inning tie for St. Louis, which took the first two games of a four-game set against the NL East leaders.
Brewers 6, Reds 4
In Cincinnati, Khris Davis hit a pair of two-run homers in consecutive at-bats for the first multihomer game of his career, powering Milwaukee to the win.
Norichika Aoki was 2-for-4 for the Brewers in the victory.
Phillies 4, Diamondbacks 3
In Philadelphia, Chase Utley walked with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, lifting the hosts to a comeback triumph.
It was the fifth win in six games for the Phillies, who have won four of those contests in their last at-bat, including the last three.
Philadelphia improved to 5-3 under interim manager Ryne Sandberg.
Rockies 3, Marlins 2
In Miami, Ryan Wheeler hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the eighth to help Colorado get the win.
Pirates 3, Giants 1
In San Francisco, Clint Barmes hit a three-run homer, Charlie Morton pitched eight strong innings and Pittsburgh won for the fourth time in five games.
Padres 8, Cubs 6
In San Diego, Will Venable had three hits and three RBIs, including a tiebreaking solo homer in the seventh, and the Padres rallied to beat Chicago.