DETROIT — After a layoff of more than a year, Runelvys Hernandez was eager to prove his recovery from elbow surgery is complete.
“I waited a long time for this moment,” he said Wednesday after leading the Kansas City Royals to a 7-2 victory against the Detroit Tigers.
Hernandez (1-0) had not pitched since Aug. 16, 2003. He had elbow ligament replacement surgery that Sept. 5 and missed all of last season.
He gave up one run and five hits in seven innings against the Tigers, walked three and struck out three for his first win since Aug. 10, 2003 at Tampa Bay.
“I was wondering what I might have,” he said. “But you saw today, Hernandez is back. I had good pitches. I was trying to hit the corners. I wasn’t worried about throwing hard, but about location.”
Hernandez threw 100 pitches, 61 for strikes.
“He located his fastball well, and threw his offspeed pitches for strikes,” Detroit’s Rondell White said.
Tony Graffanino had three singles and a double as Hernandez was backed with 15 hits.
“After the third inning, he was in command,” Kansas City manager Tony Pena said. “He threw great. He had a great changeup, slider and curve.”
Jeremy Affeldt, Kansas City’s third pitcher, completed the six-hitter, giving up an RBI triple to Dmitri Young in the ninth.
Mike Maroth (0-1) allowed five runs and 11 hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Red Sox 7, Yankees 3
NEW YORK — Playing without ailing manager Terry Francona, the Boston Red Sox rallied for five runs against Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning and beat the New York Yankees 7-3 Wednesday to avoid a season-opening sweep.
Francona was taken to a hospital in the morning with tightness in his chest and awaited test results. Bench coach Brad Mills filled in for Francona.
Yankees captain Derek Jeter left after he was hit on the helmet by a pitch in the eighth. A CT scan was normaland he is expected to play Friday.
White Sox 4, Indians 3
CHICAGO — Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye hit consecutive home runs off Bob Wickman as Chicago rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the ninth.
Athletics 9, Orioles 0
BALTIMORE — Substitute starter Kirk Saarloos pitched six innings of one-hit ball, and rookie Nick Swisher hit two of Oakland’s four home runs.
Eric Chavez and Keith Ginter also had a home run for the Athletics, who bounced back from a 4-0 loss to Baltimore on opening day.
Daniel Cabrera (0-1) allowed five runs and six hits in 3 1-3 innings.
Devil Rays 8, Blue Jays 5
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Jorge Cantu capped a six-run, eighth-inning rally with a tiebreaking, three-run home run.
Twins 4, Mariners 1
SEATTLE — Carlos Silva allowed one run in seven innings and Matthew LeCroy hit a three-run homer for Minnesota.