Japanese pitcher Koji Uehara made a triumphant debut for Baltimore in a 7-5 triumph on Wednesday over the New York Yankees, spoiling the MLB return of Taiwan’s Wang Chien-ming.
Uehara, who spent 10 seasons in Japan with the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants, allowed one run on five hits and a walk in five innings for the victory.
“The Yankees have a great lineup, a lot of great players,” Uehara said. “It was an honor to have a chance to pitch against them and get a win. I’m really happy. It’s right at the top [of my greatest achievements].”
The 34-year-old right-hander signed a two-year deal worth US$10 million in January to become the Orioles’ first Japanese pitcher.
“We didn’t hit too many balls off him,” Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon said. “His changeup was good and he kept his fastball down. He has a good idea out there.”
Baltimore pounded out a 7-1 lead off Wang, who was making his first start since June after a foot injury sidelined him for the last half of last year’s campaign. Wang surrendered seven runs on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings.
“He never got his sinker going,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “When he doesn’t have a sinker, he’s going to struggle and that’s what happened.”
Nick Markakis went 3-for-3 with a home run and knocked in three runs for the Orioles, who batted around the order in a five-run fourth inning to oust Wang in his shortest start since going 2 2/3 innings against Toronto in August 2007
“It has been so long. I just wanted to win so badly,” Wang said through a translator. “Hopefully, I can get my sinker back as soon as possible.”
Wang had not lost in nine road starts dating to 2007 in Boston but struggled for a Yankees squad that has baseball’s highest playroll at US$201 million but has lost its first two games of the season.
• Uni-President Lions 6, La New Bears 3
• Brother Elephants 9, Sinon Bulls 7
• Brother Elephants v La New Bears
(Chengching Lake, 6:30pm)
• Sinon Bulls v Uni-President Lions
Wang won 19 games in the 2006 and 2007 seasons but tore a tendon in his right foot while running the bases last June against the Houston Astros. Wang was 8-2 with a 4.07 earned-run average in 15 starts before that injury.
ATHLETICS 6, ANGELS 4
At Anaheim, California, pinch-hitter Nomar Garciaparra, Mark Ellis and Matt Holliday hit RBI singles with two outs in the ninth inning off new closer Brian Fuentes, rallying Oakland over Los Angeles.
Rookie reliever Andrew Bailey (1-0) earned his first major league victory with a hitless eighth inning and Brad Ziegler finished for his second save.
Fuentes, who got the closer’s job after Rodriguez signed with the Mets, took over to start the ninth with a 4-3 lead. After issuing a leadoff walk to Jason Giambi, Fuentes (0-1) retired the next two batters.
Kurt Suzuki followed with a trickler up the first-base line.
Fuentes and catcher Mike Napoli both reached for the ball but backed off, and Suzuki reached with an infield single.
Garciaparra singled to score pinch-runner Bobby Crosby with the tying run, and Ellis and Holliday delivered their with hits.
In other American League action on Wednesday it was:
• Rays 7, Red Sox 2
• Tigers 5, Blue Jays 1
• Royals 2, White Sox 0
• Twins 6, Mariners 5
• Rangers 8, Indians 5
At San Diego, Manny Ramirez hit a tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh inning and finished with three RBIs as Los Angeles downed San Diego 5-2.
Chad Billingsley worked six solid innings for the Dodgers and three relievers combined to finish the three-hitter. Jonathan Broxton struck out two during a scoreless ninth.