DETROIT -- After a layoff of more than a year,
"I waited a long time for this moment," he said Wednesday after leading
the Kansas City Royals over the
Hernandez (1-0) had not pitched since Aug. 16, 2003. He had elbow ligament replacement surgery that Sept. 5 and missed all of last season.
He gave up one run and five hits in seven innings against the Tigers, walked three and struck out three for his first win since Aug. 10, 2003 at Tampa Bay.
"I was wondering what I might have," he said. "But you saw today, Hernandez is back. I had good pitches. I was trying to hit the corners. I wasn't worried about throwing hard, but about location."
Hernandez threw 100 pitches, 61 for strikes.
"He located his fastball well, and threw his offspeed pitches for strikes," Detroit's Rondell White said.
"After the third inning, he was in command," Kansas City manager Tony Pena said. "He threw great. He had a great changeup, slider and curve."
Jeremy Affeldt, Kansas City's third pitcher, completed the six-hitter, giving up an RBI triple to Dmitri Young in the ninth.
Mike Maroth (0-1) allowed five runs and 11 hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Kansas City, coming off an 11-2 loss Monday, got started quickly in the first when singles by David DeJesus and Graffanino put runners at the corners.
A pitch appeared to hit Mike Sweeney and bounce toward the Royals dugout on the first-base side. Catcher Ivan Rodriguez didn't give chase at first, but plate umpire Larry Vanover ruled Sweeney wasn't hit. DeJesus scored and Graffanino moved to third on what was ruled a wild pitch.
Rodriguez and Detroit manager Alan Trammell argued to no avail. After the game, Sweeney acknowledged he had been hit.
"I'm an honest man," he said. "The pitch hit me on the foot."
Sweeney followed with a broken-bat single for a 2-0 lead.
"He has pitched well against us the last couple times we've faced him, so getting a couple of runs was huge," Sweeney said. "Once he gets into a groove, he can get a complete game with 85 pitches, and we didn't want that to happen today."
Maroth never got into a groove, allowing the first batter in each of the four innings he pitches to reach base.
"I think it probably showed, throwing a lot of balls, going deep on hitters," he said. "I'm a guy that likes to get them to put it in play early in the count and I wasn't able to do that today."
Detroit drew a crowd of 14,168 to Comerica Park after setting a ballpark record of 44,105 at Monday's opener.
Omar Infante hit a sacrifice fly in the third, but Kansas City made it 5-1 in the fourth. Matt Stairs doubled and scored on Mark Teahen's first major league hit, a triple into the right-field corner. DeJesus and Sweeney followed with RBI singles. Eli Marrero added a sacrifice fly in the seventh, and Angel Berroa homered in the eighth.
Detroit's Magglio Ordonez, who missed the final three spring training games due to diverticulitis, left the game after the fourth inning due to dizziness.
"His system's a little weak," Trammell said. "We'll see whether or not he plays tomorrow."
- Hernandez is 3-0 against the Tigers, all at Comerica Park. He is now 7-2 in career road decisions, 12-9 overall.
- Graffanino had four hits for the first time since May 14, 2002, when he did it for the Chicago White Sox against the Texas Rangers.