Matsui homers in first at-bat for third straight year
SAN DIEGO - Kazuo Matsui of the New York Mets hit an inside-the-park home run on Thursday night, the third straight year he's homered in his first at-bat of the season.
Matsui was activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game. He opened the season on the DL with a sprained ligament in his right knee.
Leading off the second inning, Matsui hit a fly ball off Padres ace Jake Peavy that glanced off the glove of retreating right fielder Brian Giles, bounced off a sign on the fence and rolled along the fence toward the right-center gap.
The relay throw arrived at the plate just as Matsui did, but catcher Mike Piazza couldn't hold onto the ball.
It was Matsui's first career inside-the-park homer, and the first by a Mets player since Marlon Anderson did it against the Los Angeles Angels last June 11.
As a rookie in 2004, Matsui became the second player in big league history to hit his first home run in his first at-bat while leading off a game to start a season.
Ken Griffey Jr. was the last player to accomplish the feat homering on his first at-bat of the season in 1997, 1998 and 1999, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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