Kansas City, Mo. Andy Pettitte beats Kansas City so often, even he has trouble keeping track.
The New York Yankees’ left-hander allowed three hits over seven strong innings Friday, striking out six and walking one in a 4-1 victory that made him 8-0 in his last 12 starts against the Royals.
In 16 career decisions against Kansas City, Pettitte is 13-3. That’s more wins against the Royals than any other active pitcher.
“To tell you the truth, I did not know that,” said Pettitte (1-0). “I know they knocked me around pretty good last year in Yankee Stadium. I know I love pitching in this ballpark.”
Sidney Ponson (0-1), who made 15 starts for New York last year, gave up four runs in six innings in his Royals’ debut.
A capacity crowd of more than 38,000 came to see the unveiling of the newly renovated Kauffman Stadium, which underwent a $250 million facelift that made it virtually a new ballpark.
“They did a great job. It looks wonderful,” said Pettitte, who was 3-0 in four spring starts. “I came out a few hours early and looked around. They did a great job with it.”
Brian Bruney pitched a hitless eighth, and Mariano Rivera struck out two around an infield hit for his first save of the year. Fifty-six of Rivera’s 483 saves have come in Pettitte wins.
“I thought Ponson did a good job, the way he battled,” Royals manager Trey Hillman said. “There were a couple of different times during the game it looked like he was about to lose it, but he regained it.”
Only one ball was hit out of the infield by either team after Mark Teahen’s inning-ending flyout in the sixth. With two outs in the ninth, Teahen got the Royals’ fourth hit on a slow roller to first.
Derek Jeter had an RBI grounder, and Nick Swisher doubled home a run for the Yankees.
Pettitte walked only one. After issuing a walk in the second inning, he gave up his only run when Mike Jacobs’ fly into shallow right glanced off the glove of Swisher for an RBI double.
“I was really upset because I did let the run score,” said Swisher, who has six RBIs in the last two games.