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uis Cardinals. He hadnt saved a g
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NEW YORK -- Daisuke Matsuzaka pinched his eyelids, clenched his teeth and thought back. Zack Britton Jersey . He couldnt remember all the details of the first save of his professional career. After 123 starts during seven seasons in Major League Baseball, the 33-year-old right-hander was turned into a reliever by the New York Mets when they brought him up from the minor leagues on April 16. Eight days later, manager Terry Collins took a chance -- a roll of the Dice-K? -- and Matsuzaka responded with a perfect ninth inning Thursday to cap a 4-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. He hadnt saved a game since May 2000, his second season with the Seibu Lions of Japans Pacific League, when he struck out four during the final three innings of a 9-0 win at the Chiba Lotte Marines. "Its definitely different," he said through a translator, "but I think Im starting to get used to going from the bullpen." Chris Young homered to start New Yorks comeback from a 1-0, fifth-inning deficit, slumping Curtis Granderson singled in a run as a pinch hitter and Daniel Murphy drove in two runs. Bartolo Colon (2-3) allowed four hits in seven innings, struck out eight and walked none, sending Lance Lynn to his first career loss in April. Matsuzaka, who completed a four-pitcher, four-hitter, was a rookie of the year in Japan in 1999, MVP as his national team won the first World Baseball Classic in 2006 and was given a $52 million, six-year contract by the Boston Red Sox after they paid Seibu $51,111,111.11 for his rights. Matsuzaka went 15-12 in his first season with the Red Sox and 18-3 in his second, but he injured a hip during the 2009 WBC and was never the same, hurting his arm and eventually needing elbow ligament-replacement surgery. He was just 50-37 for the Red Sox and signed a minor league contract in February 2013 with Cleveland, which released him in August. Then he joined the Mets, started seven games and signed a minor league deal with New York, which initially sent him to Triple-A Las Vegas this spring. But when Bobby Parnells season ended with a torn elbow ligament on opening day, the Mets had to scramble to restock their bullpen. Jose Valverde struggled as the closer and Kyle Farnsworth took over the role. Manager Terry Collins wanted to give the 38-year-old Farnsworth a rest after three appearances in four days. "I just said this is a good opportunity to see how Dice handles it," Collins explained, "and he did well." In a 15-pitch outing, Matsuzaka retired Allen Craig on a lineout to right after falling behind 3-1, struck out Daniel Descalso in an eight-pitch at-bat and got Peter Bourjos on a game-ending foulout to the catcher. "Before, I never really thought I would be able to pitch out of the bullpen because I just take so long to prepare," Matsuzaka said. "I think I just have to keep pitching well to gain full confidence from the team, but I think having had a few opportunities in tight situations definitely is encouraging." Collins said Farnsworth, who has two saves, remains his first-choice closer but Matsuzuka may receive more ninth-inning opportunities. His preparation, which includes lengthy stretching, will have to change. "If hes going to pitch the back end of the game, be it the eighth, the ninth, somewhere in there," the manager said, "I dont want him to wear himself out in the fifth inning, at 8:15. I want him to kind of save something." Dice-K said its as much mental as physical. "Just to comfort myself, I think I throw more than I probably have to," he said. New York also gave 40-year-old right fielder Bobby Abreu hit first big league start since July 25, 2012. Abreu went 1 for 3 with an opposite-field double to left in the fifth -- his first hit with the Mets. "Its been a long time," he said. "It was kind of exciting. At first I had to calm down my emotions and just go out there and play the game." New York took three of four from the defending NL champions and has won four of five overall. St. Louis lost for the sixth time in nine games and has gone 291 at-bats without a home run since Allen Craig connected at Milwaukee off Wily Peralta on April 16. Lynn (4-1) had been 12-0 through April in his big league career, including one March victory. But given a fifth-inning lead, he allowed the Mets to tie the score in the bottom half and go ahead 2-1 on Murphys RBI double in the sixth, a ball that dropped just in front of diving centerfielder Jon Jay. Lynn was chased in a two-run seventh after Eric Young Jr. bunted and reached on a two-base error when the pitcher threw off first baseman Matt Adams glove and into right field. Granderson had been 2 for 20 against left-handers this year before he greeted Kevin Siegrist with an RBI single, and Murphy singled in the final run. "Weve been home six days in the past 2 1/2 months," Lynn said. "I think a lot of people are looking forward to getting home and sleeping in their own beds." NOTES: With hitters on both teams complaining about plate umpire Alan Porters wide strike zone on a blustery afternoon, New York batters struck out 10 times, raising their total to 213 and passing Miami (203) for the major league lead. ... Zack Wheeler (1-2) starts Fridays series opener at home against Miamis Henderson Alvarez (1-2). Adam Ottavino Jersey . Each day, TSN.ca provides the latest rumours, reports and speculation from around the NHL beat. Duck Calling With several marquee centres available via trade and expected to be available via free agency, the Anaheim Ducks could be primed to be big players in the coming days. Albert Abreu Jersey . “The shootout, theres nothing wrong with it, I think its an exciting part of the game but its just one small aspect,” said Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman. “Its a skill exhibition. If you can get it back closer to regular hockey and have it decided that way; that would be my preference.” “I dont think its a knock on the shootout, I think more of the managers would like to see it end in overtime,” added Washington Capitals GM George McPhee. http://www.customyankeesjersey.com/custo...1504i.html . Its like being on Broadway, everything you do matters. Id want to be good though! I couldnt play here if I wasnt very good.   #83217388 / gettyimages.DENVER -- Backup catcher Hector Sanchez played a starring role in a wild win. He could get used to this. Sanchez hit two of San Franciscos six homers, including a grand slam in the 11th inning Wednesday that gave the Giants a thrilling 12-10 victory over the Colorado Rockies. With the Giants on the verge of being swept in a three-game series at Coors Field for the first time in 12 years, Sanchez drove a fastball from Chad Bettis (0-1) into the bushes behind centre field. He also hit a solo homer in the eighth. "Everybody wants to be the hero," said Sanchez, who was spelling Buster Posey in a day game following a night contest. "Everybody wants to do well." Catching the entire game, Sanchez was starting to feel his legs cramp in the late innings. It certainly didnt affect his swing, as he fouled off quite a few pitches from Bettis before connecting. He almost instantly raised his hand because, "I knew it was out of the park," he said. So did Bettis. But the reliever had no other choice than to try to blow a fastball by him with the count full and bases loaded. "I put myself in a bad spot and got hurt for it," Bettis said. Michael Morse also hit two homers -- a solo shot in the second and a three-run homer the following inning -- as two Giants hit multiple homers in the same game for the first time since May 25, 2005. Brandon Hicks and Brandon Belt also went deep for the Giants, who rallied from a 5-1, second-inning deficit. "I mean, were down 5-1, looking at getting swept here and they fought hard, found a way to win a game here," said manager Bruce Bochy, who was ejected in the fourth for arguing balls and strikes. "It makes for a better flight home." Jean Machi (4-0) got one out in the 10th to earn the win. Sergio Romo struggled in a non-save situation, surrendering a two-run homer to Justin Morneau but retiring Brandon Barnes on a game-ending 5-4-3 double play. Hunter Pence led off the 11th with a single and Belt followed with a walk. After a sacrifice, Joaquin Arias was intentionally walked to get to Sanchez, who delivered his first career slam. Sanchez finished with a career-higgh five RBIs. Wholesale Custom Yankees Shirts. "We got the victory, and thats the best part," he said. With him playing a central role, too, on a day when starter Matt Cain struggled. The righty allowed seven runs, 10 hits and three walks in six innings and is 0-3 with a 4.35 ERA in five starts. Charlie Blackmon finished 2 for 5 with a homer and four runs -- lowering his batting average to .410. Troy Tulowitzki added a two-run homer and Nolan Arenado extended his hitting streak to 14 games with an RBI double in the seventh. Belts two-run homer in the seventh gave the Giants a 7-6 lead and came off Rex Brothers. The hard-throwing lefty surrendered a game-ending, 10th-inning homer to Brandon Crawford on April 13. Arenado tied the game with an RBI double off Cain. With two on and no outs, reliever Jeremy Affeldt was summoned into the game and got the Giants out of the predicament. "We had Cain on the ropes early, but weve seen him do that before, where he battles and competes and somehow finds a way to stick around until late in the game," manager Walt Weiss said. "Hes done that a handful of times against us. We had opportunities to really put that game away." Still, it was a productive homestand for the Rockies as they wound up 4-2. "We are a team with confidence," Weiss said. "I feel like the energy in the dugout is always good, even when we get down. Even being down four in that last inning, with Romo in the game, still a lot of energy and guys feeling like we could put something together and win the game. I feel good about our mentality." NOTES: Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval left in the seventh with a stomach virus. .... Hicks had to stop at second on his double in the eighth when a fan reached over the railing to grab it. ... Bochy tinkered with his starting lineup, resting Posey and OF Angel Pagan, whos been bothered by knee soreness. Pagan entered as a pinch hitter in the eighth and grounded out. Posey was intentionally walked in the 10th. ... Bochy said Pagan will have his knee checked out Thursday in San Francisco. ... Morneau finished the homestand with nine hits, including two doubles, three homers and 11 RBIs. ' ' '
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