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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Middlebrooks Returns To The Red Sox & They Finally Beat the Royals Again

It only took five tries but the Red Sox (71-48 overall, 32-27 away) managed to beat the Royals (60-54 overall, 31-26 home) again, 5-3 this evening at Kauffman Stadium to snap a four-game losing streak (two games in this series). The three easy to use storylines coming out of this win for Boston was Will Middlebrooks' (2 hits, 2 RBIs, 2 runs) triumphant return from purgatory I mean Pawtucket RI, Jacoby Ellsbury's (4 hits, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, stolen base) great night at the plate and five scoreless innings by the Red Sox bullpen (4 pitchers).

Compared to last night, this was a pitcher's duel except for the fact that Felix Doubront only lasted 4+ innings (not long enough for the win) while Jeremy Guthrie went six innings but allowed five earned runs on 10 hits. Brandon Workman (3-1) got four outs in relief (including three strikeouts), Craig Breslow retired the two men he faced to end the sixth, Junichi Tazawa (19th hold) struck out two in two scoreless innings and Koji Uehara had a 1-2-3 ninth (on 12 pitches!) for his 12th save of the season.

After no runs in the first three innings, the Red Sox looked like they were about to pull away when they scored four times in the fourth (it was meant to be!). Stephen Drew had an RBI double, two runs scored on Middlebrooks' bloop single down the right field line and Ellsbury notched his first of two RBI doubles.

Kudos to the Royals for fighting back right away and nearly tying it in the fifth. Eric Hosmer (2 hits) started the pseudo-rally with an RBI double, Billy Butler (3 hits, 2 doubles) continued to own the Red Sox (he's 7 for 12 in the series) with an RBI double and old man Miguel Tejada greeted Workman with an RBI single.

With Boston's bullpen on lockdown mode after that one inherited run scored in the fifth, Ellsbury added another RBI double in the sixth which scored Middlebrooks. Mike Carp was 2 for 3 with a run and walk in the victory.

Thanks to Tampa Bay and Baltimore's losses today, the Red Sox improved to three games and five games respectively ahead of their biggest competition this season in the AL. Haha with their loss the Yankees fell 11 games behind the Red Sox which is fantastic if you think about it. Tomorrow's game (2:10, NESN) is so important to both teams psychologically because the Royals have been on fire and they could win the series (3-1) while the Red Sox are looking to get out of town with a hard-earned split. John Lackey (7-9) faces former Rays star James Shields (6-8) in what should be a close contest.

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