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Sunday, August 11, 2013

It's Safe To Say The Red Sox Did Not Enjoy Their Time in Kansas City

The Pittsburgh Pirates are rightfully earning most of the praise and attention across MLB this season as the team that has totally turned it around after years of losing. However in the American League, Kansas City is starting to become a great story as well. With the Royals' (61-54 overall, 32-26 home) 5-4 win this afternoon over the Red Sox (71-49 overall, 32-28 home) at Kauffman Stadium, they took this weekend's series (3-1) and the season series (5-2).

The good news for Boston is that Tampa Bay has finally slumped a bit, losing their last five games including a sweep from the Dodgers this weekend. Strictly because of that, the Red Sox remain three games up on them for first place in the AL East.

James Shields (7-8) is still a good pitcher and he is certainly familiar with some of the Red Sox hitters from his time with the Rays. Shields went seven innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits with five strikeouts and three walks. John Lackey (7-10) did not have his best stuff by any means but he gutted it out for seven innings: four earned runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and two walks.

Boston got on the board first as Shane Victorino (double, stolen base) came around on Salvador Perez's throwing error in the first inning. Alex Gordon (3 hits) tied it with an RBI single in the home half of the first. Then Jarrod Dyson and David Lough (who?) added RBI singles in the second and Gordon smacked his 13th homer of the season-a solo shot in the third for a 4-1 Royals lead.

For whatever reason, it felt like the Red Sox were down by way more than three runs which is why Ryan Lavarnway's (2 hits) two-run single in the sixth woke everybody up. Kansas City's bullpen was equal to the task though with a scoreless eighth by Tim Collins and Aaron Crow while All-Star closer Greg Holland had a 1-2-3 ninth with two strikeouts for his 32nd save of the season (2nd of the series).

Red hot Stephen Drew (seriously) was 2 for 4 with a double and run for Boston in the loss. This has been a bumpy road trip so far for the Red Sox (3-4) but they have a chance to go home on a positive note after three games in Toronto (54-63, 5th in AL East) starting on Tuesday (7:07, NESN) with Ryan Dempster (6-8) vs. rookie Todd Redmond (1-1). The other two pitching matchups favor Boston at the Rogers Centre: Jon Lester (10-7) vs. Josh Johnson (2-8) on Wednesday (7:07, NESN) and Jake Peavy (9-4) takes on Mark Buehrle (8-7) on Thursday (7:07, NESN).

They haven't been off since July 25 (rainout vs. Rays) so tomorrow will give Boston a chance to relax for the first time in a while.

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