Whiff, whiff, whiff, whiff.
Alex Rodriguez just couldn't make contact in windy Kansas City.
For only the fourth time in his career, Rodriguez struck out four times and the Kansas City Royals won their home opener, beating the banged-up New York Yankees 5-2 before a sellout crowd on Tuesday.
Rodriguez said he did not remember ever taking called third strikes three times in a game.
``That's a first, I think. Someone said, 'Go out and go 4-for-4,' and I did,'' Rodriguez quipped.
At Boston, the Red Sox got their World Series rings and then Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched a gem, holding Detroit to four hits in 6 2-3 innings in a 5-0 win over the Tigers in the home opener for the Red Sox.
Matsuzaka was too busy warming up to see much of the pregame ceremony.
``I did feel a little jealous,'' Matsuzaka said after the Red Sox ended their three-country, 16,000-mile odyssey. ``The ring had been put in my locker at some point during the game. I tried it on, and I must say it looked pretty good.''
In other AL games, it was: Oakland 9, Toronto 8; Seattle 6, Tampa Bay 5; Baltimore 8, Texas 1; and Indians 4, Angels 3.
Royals pitchers recorded 11 strikeouts altogether, including three by Wilson Betemit, who was subbing for hobbled All-Star shortstop Derek Jeter. Jeter will be out at least three games due to a strained left quadriceps.
Brian Bannister (2-0) survived a shaky second inning and went five innings for the victory, just the Royals' fourth in their past 23 meetings with the Yankees.
Rodriguez, who homered twice off Bannister last year, had not struck out four times in a game since Aug. 25, 2006.
``He made some great pitches. There's not much you can do. I can't really look back and say that there were pitches I could hit or crush. Perhaps I could have fouled them off. Today he was much better than I was. Give him a lot of credit,'' Rodriguez said.
Bannister allowed two runs and five hits with four walks and six strikeouts. In his first game this season, he threw seven shutout innings against Detroit.
``I completely respect who he is as a hitter, what he's capable of,'' Bannister said. ``He didn't have a problem with me last year.''
The three-time MVP took called third strikes in the second, third and fifth innings and struck out swinging against Ramon Ramirez in the seventh.
``Really, all I tried to do was not get in a pattern with him,'' Bannister said. ``It just happened I made three perfect pitches on him when I had to. It's nice to do that cause he is such a threat.''
In more bad news for the Yankees, catcher Jorge Posada was removed in the sixth inning and will undergo tests for a ``dead arm.''
Phil Hughes (0-1) went three innings plus two batters in the loss.
The Red Sox trotted out the champions of Boston's past to celebrate their latest World Series win, with Hall of Famers Bobby Orr and Bill Russell among those carrying their sports' trophies onto the Fenway field to join the two won by the Red Sox.
In an hourlong pregame ceremony that turned emotional when once-scorned first baseman Bill Buckner was given an enthusiastic welcome, the Red Sox received their World Series rings and raised a championship banner above center field. Then, they began to focus on the work of repeating.
``We needed to get through this day,'' said Boston manager Terry Francona, who took his team to Japan, California and Canada before opening up at home. ``Now we can go about the business of playing baseball and seeing how good we can be.''
Buckner, a goat of the 1986 World Series collapse that helped extend the team's title drought until 2004, received a standing ovation when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch to former teammate Dwight Evans. Current Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis went over to meet him.
``I've probably never almost been in tears for somebody else on a baseball field. I think that was just the most unbelievable thing,'' Youkilis said. ``I wanted to shake his hand, because that's a true man in life.''
Youkilis had three hits and two RBIs for the Red Sox, who began the day last in the AL East following a trip to Tokyo (where they went 1-1), Oakland (2-0) and Toronto (0-3). But they responded well in their return to Fenway, where they were 51-30 during the regular season last year and 6-1 in the postseason.
Matsuzaka (2-0) allowed four hits in 6 2-3 innings with seven strikeouts and four walks. Detroit, the only winless team in the majors despite the big leagues' second-highest payroll, is 0-7 for the first time since dropping its first nine games in 2003 en route to an AL-record 119 losses.
``You get angry if people are going through the motions and if they're not trying,'' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. ``But that's not what's happening.''
Orioles 8, Rangers 1
At Arlington, Texas, Scott Moore and Luke Scott hit early home runs and Baltimore ruined Texas' home opener.
The Orioles (6-1) have the American League's best record and a six-game winning streak, already matching their longest of last season.
Mariners 6, Rays 5
At St. Petersburg, Fla., Erik Bedard struggled through six innings but got enough support from the Seattle's sputtering offense to ruin Tampa Bay's home opener.
Bedard (1-0) allowed five runs and five hits while improving to 11-3 in 19 career starts against Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay starter Matt Garza left the game in the third inning because of an irritated nerve in his pitching arm.
Athletics 9, Blue Jays 8
At Toronto, Ryan Sweeney hit a tiebreaking triple in the ninth inning, and Oakland ended Toronto's three-game winning streak.
Indians 4, Angels 3
At Anaheim, Calif., Travis Hafner hit a two-run homer off emergency closer Justin Speier with two outs in the ninth inning, and Jake Westbrook (1-1) earned his first complete game since 2006.
Speier, forced to close because Francisco Rodriguez has an injured ankle, got the last out in the eighth and retired his first two batters in the ninth before walking Asdrubal Cabrera.
Hafner drove the right-hander's next pitch far over the right-field fence for his second homer, costing Speier (0-1) his first save since 2004 with Toronto.

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