Matthews Makes Leaping Catch, Then Drops Fly Ball

Tuesday, April 3rd 2007, 7:35 am
By: News On 6

Gary Matthews Jr. made a leaping catch in center to rob Mark Teixeira and end a Texas threat in the first inning, then walked and scored the Angels' first run in the bottom half.

Matthews had an eventful debut for Los Angeles in Monday night's opening 4-1 victory over the Rangers, his first game since signing a $50 million, five-year contract.

``That why we got him,'' winner John Lackey mouthed after Matthews' catch on Teixeira..

Matthews gained unwanted notoriety during spring training when he was linked to a steroids investigation, with a pharmacy reportedly sending him human growth hormone. Matthews denied taking HGH.

His Angels' debut came against his former team _ last year he hit .313 for the Rangers with 19 homers and 79 RBIs.

``He can beat you so many ways,'' Teixeira said. ``He can beat you on offense. He can beat you on defense. He can steal a base. He can hit a home run _ he can do it all. He's a perfect leadoff hitter and a perfect center fielder.''

In other games it was New York 9, Tampa 5; Seattle 4, Oakland 0; Kansas City 7, Boston 1; Toronto 5, Detroit 3; Cleveland 12, Chicago 5; and Minnesota 7, Baltimore 4.

At Anaheim, Matthews also dropped Michael Young's routine fly to right-center in the third for a two-base error that brought him scattered boos.

Lackey (1-0) pitched out of trouble in four of his five innings, allowing four hits, and Casey Kotchman homered.

Sammy Sosa, back in baseball after taking a year off, went 0-for-3 for the Rangers, struck out once and did not hit a ball out of the infield in Ron Washington's major league managerial debut. Kevin Millwood (0-1) allowed three runs and five hits in five innings.

Yankees 9, Devil Rays 5

Oft-injured Carl Pavano pitched his first major league game since June 27, 2005, allowing five runs _ four earned _ and six hits in 4 1-3 innings and leaving to a mix of cheers and boos at Yankee Stadium.

Jason Giambi had three RBIs, including a go-ahead single in the seventh off Brian Stokes (0-1). Giambi was part of a pregame tribute to Cory Lidle, his high school and Yankees teammate, who died in a plane crash Oct. 11.

Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada homered. and Derek Jeter had a two-run single to help the Yankees win their 10th straight home opener.

Luis Vizcaino (1-0) worked a perfect seventh for the victory in his Yankees debut as New York overcame a 5-3 deficit. Kyle Farnsworth tossed a scoreless eighth, and Mariano Rivera struck out all three batters in the ninth.

Mariners 4, Athletics 0

Felix Hernandez (1-0), the 20-year-old would-be phenom who has lost 20 pounds since a disappointing 2006 season, allowed three hits in eight innings and struck out a career-high 12 against the defending AL West champions. He was the youngest opening-day starter since the New York Mets' Dwight Gooden in 1985.

Richie Sexson hit a three-run homer off Dan Haren (0-1) in the sixth at Seattle after a pivotal error by shortstop Bobby Crosby on a potential inning-ending double-play grounder.

Royals 7, Red Sox 1

Gil Meche (1-0) gave up one run and six hits in 7 1-3 innings in his first start for Kansas City, which signed him to a $55 million, five-year contract. It was the longest opening-day outing for a Royals pitcher since Mark Gubicza in 1988, and Meche walked off the field at Kaufmann Stadium to a standing ovation from the crowd of 41,257.

Curt Schilling (0-1) lasted only four innings, his shortest start since May 1997 other than a game interrupted by power failure. He gave up five runs and eight hits and walked Ryan Shealy with the based loaded in the first inning _ just the second bases-loaded walk of his career as the starter, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The other was Pittsburgh's Brian Giles on July 23, 2000.

Blue Jays 5, Tigers 3

Troy Glaus hit a bases-loaded single in the 10th off Fernando Rodney (0-1), long after the Tigers raised the 2006 AL pennant up a center-field flag pole during a pregame ceremony.

Toronto quickly quieted the Comerica Park-record crowd of 44,297 when their first three batters scored on RBIs from Lyle Overbay, Vernon Wells and Alex Rios.

In his Detroit debut, Gary Sheffield hit sacrifice flies in the third and fifth innings.

Jason Frasor (1-0) ended a ninth-inning threat, and B.J. Ryan pitched the 10th for a save.

Indians 12, White Sox 5

Grady Sizemore homered off Jose Contreras (0-1) on the game's second pitch, and visiting Cleveland added four more runs in the first. The 12 runs were the most for the Indians on opening day since 1925, when they scored 21 against the St. Louis Browns.

Sizemore's homer was the Indians' first leading off an opener in 19 years. He went 2-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored.

Trot Nixon had three hits and scored three runs, That was plenty for C.C. Sabathia (1-0), who took a line drive to the left forearm in his final spring training start, allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings.

Darin Erstad hit a two-run homer in the first inning of his White Sox debut.

Twins 7, Orioles 4

Justin Morneau went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs, helping the Twins survive an underwhelming outing by Johan Santana (1-0). Torii Hunter also drove in two runs, including his homer on the next pitch from Erik Bedard (0-1) that followed Morneau's second-inning shot.

Miguel Tejada homered against Santana, who ran his regular-season Metrodome winning streak to 17 games. Though he struck out six and walked only two, the two-time Cy Young Award winner allowed four runs in six innings. Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for the save.