Sidney Ponson gave the Royals six quality innings, but the offense failed to give him any run support as the Yankees downed the Royals 4-1 on the home opener of the new (and very beautiful) Kauffman Stadium.
Ponson had a few stretches where it appeared he would let the game get out of hand, but he reeled back and shut down the Yanks to escape danger. He really pitched better than the four runs that were on the board when he came out before the seventh. Had the Royals defense been better in the first inning Ponson likely would have only allowed two runs. He struck out five and walked three.
Mike Jacobs whiffed on a hard-hit ball right at him at first that accounted for two runs. Jacobs was not charged with an error on the play, and rightfully so as the ball was smoked by Jorge Posada. Mike Aviles also misplayed a hard hit ball at short, but he also escaped being charged with an error.
In the same inning, right before the Posada single, Alberto Callaspo made a bonehead decision that cost the Royals an extra run. On a grounder to second Callaspo fielded the ball and had Mark Teixeira standing right beside him for a potential tag-em-out-throw-em-out double play to get out of the inning. Instead, Callaspo opted not to go after Teixeira and instead threw out the runner at first. That allowed Teixeira to move to second and scored on Posada's hit.
"I'm still not happy with the way I pitched," Ponson said after the game. "Even though I gave them six innings, I'm still not happy with the way I pitched out there."
Ponson also declined to blame his teammates on the miscues in the infield. Opting instead to blame himself for letting those balls get hit so hard.
After taking an awful booing during player introductions before the game, Kyle Farnsworth came on in the seventh and struck out the side. Jamey Wright followed with two scoreless innings and struck out three while allowing one hit. He promptly picked off that runner.
Billy Butler doubled and scored in the second inning. Mike Jacobs doubled to score Butler. The Royals only had four hits in the game. Besides Butler's hit, Mike Aviles and Mark Teahen also added a hit.