Taiwanese pitcher Wang Chien-ming (王建民), who was one of the final additions to the Kansas City Royals’ 25-man roster this year, took the pitcher’s mound in the Royals’ fourth game of the season on Saturday, walking one batter and sending three others out in the ninth inning with his trademark sinker.
It was Wang’s first major league game since Aug. 25, 2013, after gaining a surprise pick on the roster.
“I am happy to be able to stand on the mound,” Wang told reporters after the game, in which the Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 7-0 at the Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.
The 36-year-old reliever was called up in the ninth inning, when the Royals were leading by seven.
Wang walked the first batter and dismissed three others, including Park Byung-ho of South Korea. Wang pitched a total of 22 balls, all sinkers, gaining 13 strikes and allowing no hits.
Facing Park, who hit a homer in his major league debut the previous day, Wang threw a sinker that was clocked at 148kph.
It was a strong comeback from last year, when Wang’s trademark sinker rarely clocked more than 143kph, but a stint at the Texas Baseball Ranch in the off-season helped him improve his speed.
Earlier, Ian Kennedy had pitched impressively into the seventh inning on his Kansas City debut as the Royals hit their first three home runs of the season.
The Twins fell to 0-5 for the first time since the Washington Senators moved to Minnesota in 1961.
Kennedy (1-0), signed by the Royals on a five-year US$70 million contract in January, limited the Twins to five hits — including four singles — before being pulled after 109 pitches with two out in the seventh. He walked one and struck out seven.
Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain hit successive home runs in the fourth for the first hits off Twins left-hander Tommy Milone, while Kendrys Morales homered in the sixth off Casey Fien. The last time the Royals hit back-to-back home runs was on Sept. 29 last year at the Chicago White Sox.
Milone (0-1) allowed four runs — two earned — and four hits in 4-2/3 innings.
Twins shortstop Eduardo Escobar committed two errors — one fielding and one throwing — leading to the two unearned runs in the fifth inning.
Paulo Orlando, who was making his first start of the season, had three hits, including an RBI single in the three-run sixth inning, and scored on Alcides Escobar’s two-out triple.
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