Daisuke Matsuzaka pinched his eyelids, clenched his teeth, and thought back. He couldn’t remember all the details of the first save of his professional career.
After 123 starts during seven seasons in Major League Baseball, the 33-year-old righthander was turned into a reliever by the New York Mets when they brought him up from the minor leagues on April 16. Eight days later, manager Terry Collins took a chance — a roll of the Dice-K? — and Matsuzaka responded with a perfect ninth inning Thursday at Citi Field to cap a 4-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.