Boston, MA – Daisuke Matsuzaka returned from the disabled list and picked up his first win of 2012, while Cody Ross drove in three runs as Boston downed Kansas City, 5-1, in the finale of a four-game series.
In his first start since July 2, Matsuzaka (1-3) worked seven innings, scattering five hits and one unearned run with two walks and six strikeouts.
"He gave us what we needed, 100 pitches, seven innings, five hits," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "It's a good outing."
Jacoby Ellsbury added two hits, including a solo homer, and scored twice for the Red Sox, who took three of four in the set.
Alex Gordon hit safely twice and drove in the lone run for the Royals, who have dropped four of five overall.
Luke Hochevar (7-12) went the distance in defeat, charged with eight hits and five runs -- all but one earned -- fanning six and walking one.
The Sox picked up two runs in the home third to take the lead for good. Scott Podsednik and Dustin Pedroia hit consecutive one-out singles, then a passed ball moved both runners up ahead of Ross' two-run single for a 3-1 contest.
In the sixth, Ellsbury doubled then scored on a Ross double and when James Loney followed with a base hit, the hosts moved ahead by a 5-1 count.
Matsuzaka allowed runners in every inning except the second. Aside from allowing a first-inning run, the only other frame that the Royals threatened to score was the sixth.
Gordon doubled and Billy Butler walked, and when Salvador Perez fouled out, Gordon moved to third. Matsuzaka fanned Mike Moustakas swinging to end the inning, then tossed a scoreless seventh to end his day.
"What he did today and what he did effectively was he threw his slider inside on right-handers really well. He executed that pitch well a number of times," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Clayton Mortensen and Vicente Padilla held the fort in the eighth, with the latter inducing an inning-ending double-play grounder from Perez.
Andrew Bailey worked around a walk to Lorenzo Cain to finish off the victory.
Both teams tallied in the opening inning, as Gordon's fly to right plated Jarrod Dyson, and Ellsbury managed to hit a ball off the low wall in right which ricocheted into the crowd.
Matsuzaka earned his first win since May 8, 2011, a 9-5 decision against Minnesota ... Prior to the game, the Sox placed designated hitter David Ortiz on the 15-day DL, recalled outfielder Ryan Kalish and optioned pitcher Pedro Beato to Triple-A Pawtucket ... Hochevar is winless in his last five starts, dating back to an 8-3 win over Cleveland on July 31.