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Does Bobby Valentine have an issue with keeping pitchers in too long?
Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald joined Gary Tanguay and Mike Felger on Sports Tonight to debate Valentine's decisions.
Though they all agreed to liking when Valentine visits the mound to help his pitchers overcome issues, they think he struggles with knowing when to yank pitchers from the game.
"While I love his mound visits, he keeps his pitchers in too long. He kept Bard in too long last night by at least a batter, he's kept bullpen guys in too long," said Felger. "Bard should never have faced that second batter. When he came in he walked the leadoff man, and that should have been it. Bobby Valentine left him in there for one extra better, that extra better gave him a loss as opposed to a no-decision, and I'm sure Bard, given the mindset of these knuckleheads, probably holds him responsible."
For more of the debate, watch the video below:
The Red Sox fell to the Royals Wednesday, dropping both the game and the series to Kansas City in a night where defense decided the outcome.
The tone was set from the very beginning of the game, as Jon Lester saw a two-out, nobody on situation fall apart after a walk to Billy Butler and seeing-eye single through the left side of the infield. Still, he appeared to have the frame in hand when he induced a fly ball to center off the bat of Johnny Giavotella, but Marlon Byrd completely misplayed the ball, coming in much too far and having the ball clang off his glove when he was forced to make a leaping attempt, allowing one run to come in. Two more would quickly follow when Cody Ross had the ball pop from his glove and off the wall after a running grab.
The Sox would recover in the third inning when Adrian Gonzalez unloaded the bases with a double, but quickly fell back behind by one when Lester gave up his only earned run of the night. That's when the Royals defense came out to help them win the game, with Alex Gordon robbing Dustin Pedroia of extra bases with a leaping grab against the wall and Alcides Escobar stealing a hit from David Ortiz when he went to the air himself to pull down a line drive up the middle.
Boston threatened again come the ninth, but as before it was the Kansas City defense saving the day, with Alex Gordon sliding to pick a Ryan Sweeney line drive inches from the ground with runners on second and third. With Mike Aviles grounding out softly, the game ended with the Sox behind 4-3.
Middlebrooks Missing: For once, Will Middlebrooks does not play the hero at any point, going 0-for-4 out of the fifth spot. We'll likely see how he reacts to his first struggle at the plate--if you can even call it that--tomorrow against the Indians.
Adrian Gonzalez Keeps It Going: He was just 1-for-4, but with that one hit a solid, clutch double and one of the outs coming on a long fly ball, Gonzalez seems not to have lost whatever he had going for him on Tuesday, when he recorded two very solid hits.
Defensive Replacements: One consequence of the injuries that has really been overlooked so far is the defensive loss the Sox have suffered. While Carl Crawford obviously had his struggles last year, and the switch at third base has unquestionably provided a positive change, having Jacoby Ellsbury at center rather than Marlon Byrd would almost certainly have changed this from a loss to a win.
The Red Sox and Royals are ready to decide their series with a Wednesday night rubber match, as Jon Lester takes on Bruce Chen in Kauffman Stadium.
We'll keep you up-do-date on all the action as it goes down in Kansas City.
Red Sox 3, Royals 4, Final -- Just as defense lost the game for the Red Sox in the first, it won the game for the Royals in the ninth. After Cody Ross and Jarrod Saltalamacchia led off the inning with a single and a walk, Marlon Byrd bunted them along to second and third, bringing Ryan Sweeney to the plate with a chance to tie the game or even put the Sox ahead. And, for a second there, it looked like he had. After a long at bat, Sweeney lined a ball into left field that seemed for all the world destined for the grass until Alex Gordon made a last-second dive and came up with it, far too shallow for the pinch-running Darnell McDonald to score from third. With Mike Aviles grounding out weakly to second, the game was over.
Red Sox 3, Royals 4, End 8th -- The Royals get even closer to scoring off of Clayton Mortensen, but a strong relay from Cody Ross, to Mike Aviles, to Jarrod Saltalamacchia leaves Irving Falu out at the plate by a mile.
Red Sox 3, Royals 4, Mid 8th -- David Ortiz is one unlucky man, lining out again as Jarrod Dyson goes into a slide to grab his rocket in center field. Two more quick outs, and the Sox are in need of production from the bottom of the order if they're going to avoid losing a series to the lowly Royals.
Red Sox 3, Royals 4, End 7th -- Clayton Mortensen escapes the seventh unharmed after a one-out double. In a season bullpen surprises good and bad, Mortensen has so far been among the best.
Red Sox 3, Royals 4, Mid 7th -- A 2-out single from Mike Aviles is wasted as Dustin Pedroia flies out on the first pitch. Frankly, it might have been better to have Aviles just get out, so as to have Pedroia - Ortiz - Gonzalez in the eighth. Then again, he did get out, so maybe not.
Red Sox 3, Royals 4, End 6th -- Clayton Mortensen continues to do nothing but record outs. The Royals go 1-2-3 like the Sox before them, as Mortensen does the job of keeping the game within reach.
Red Sox 3, Royals 4, Mid 6th -- The Royals don't need quite so impressive a defensive performance in the sixth to retire the side in order. Hopefully this is just a sign that the Sox need the top of their order up, and not that they're shutting down for the night.
Red Sox 3, Royals 4, End 5th -- Lester gets a quiet 1-2-3 inning, but with his pitch count high that's likely it for his night. Bad defense in the first cost him what could have been a very nice outing, but he'll still leave with just one earned in five innings of work.
Then again, this is Bobby V. we're talking about. Who can say?
Red Sox 3, Royals 4, Mid 5th -- Bruce Chen dodges some serious bullets in the fifth. Dustin Pedroia takes him all the way to the wall in left, where Alex Gordon has to make a leaping grab to save at least extra bases. David Ortiz follows that up with a line drive up the middle where Alcides Escobar makes his own fancy snag for the second out. Adrian Gonzalez is last up and makes the least impressive contact, but still gets the ball a long ways to left-center before having it find a glove.
That easily could have been a crooked number on the board. Instead, it's a goose egg.
Red Sox 3, Royals 4, End 4th -- The Royals, on the other hand, do not waste their chances. Irving Falu's double comes out of the leadoff spot, but it's the double from Alcides Escobar that spells the difference rather than simply the timing, scoring Falu from third with ease.
Red Sox 3, Royals 3, Mid 4th -- A double from Jarrod Saltalamacchia with one out goes for naught, with Ryan Sweeney striking out trying to check his swing and Mike Aviles grounding out weakly to end the inning after Marlon Byrd gets plunked.
Red Sox 3, Royals 3, End 3rd -- Some difficult sailing for Lester in the third, as he surrenders some decent contact for a couple of line drives. The first leads off the inning, putting Billy Butler on first. The second comes with two outs, but ends in the glove of a sliding Ryan Sweeney, who is about the only trustworthy outfielder on the team right about now.
Actually, Darnell McDonald has been on fire defensively of late, so scratch that.
Red Sox 3, Royals 3, Mid 3rd -- The Royals are doing their best Red Sox impression! Hooray! After Marlon Byrd and Ryan Sweeney, in his first start against a left-handed pitcher this year drop singles into left field, Dustin Pedroia hits a pop-up which has Billy Butler chasing the ball well back of first in foul territory, only to have it drop in well to his left in fair territory, loading the bases with one out.
David Ortiz, unfortunately, looked very much unlike Ortiz in his at bat, not seeing the ball well out of Chen's hand and striking out on a bad pitch up-and-in. Luckily, however, Adrian Gonzalez seems to be all the way back. Even though he wasn't seeing the ball terribly well either, he managed to time his swing perfectly on a 3-2 pitch, hitting a line shot to right field to clear the bases and tie the game.
Red Sox 0, Royals 3, End 2nd -- Chris Getz leads off the inning with a seeing-eye single to left--the second Jon Lester has endured so far today--but the rest of the Royals go down in easy fashion as Lester records his second strikeout and manages to avoid any more defensive mishaps.
Red Sox 0, Royals 3, Mid 2nd -- Bruce Chen records two strikeouts and a swinging bunt on the Red Sox in the second. It bears mentioning that in his career Bruce Chen has not been a very good pitcher, and is very much the sort of junkballer the Sox have been jumping all over of late. Not good.
Red Sox 0, Royals 3, End 1st -- What a disaster of an inning for the Red Sox. After Lester quickly records two outs, including a strikeout of Alex Gordon, Billy Butler manages to work a long at bat and draw a walk to keep the inning going. Jeff Francoeur takes advantage by placing a ground ball perfectly through the left side of the infield, but Lester still seems to be out of it when a fliner heads straight for Marlon Byrd in center.
Except Marlon Byrd, as he has been wont to do of late, makes an absolutely terrible read, comes in a few feet, has to jump to try and catch the ball, and instead has it clang off his glove, allowing Butler to score. The next batter, Brayan Pena, sends a long fly ball to left field, where Cody Ross seems to have run it down, right up until the ball pops up and out of his glove as he swings his arm forward. Ross still manages to corral it, but only after it's bounced off the wall, turning another third out into a double, and costing the Sox another pair of runs.
This is where the idea of curses comes from.
Red Sox 0, Royals 0, Mid 1st -- A good start for the Sox quickly goes by the wayside, as Mike Aviles' leadoff single is wasted by a couple of weak fly balls from Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez, and a strike out from David Ortiz. That's a good start for Bruce Chen, who hasn't been pitching all that well this year.
The Red Sox and Royals will face off in the rubber game of their series Wednesday night as Will Middlebrooks returns to the lineup against Bruce Chen. First pitch is at 8:10 p.m. EST, with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.
Middlebrooks returns to the lineup just one night after being pulled in the early stages of Tuesday's game with hamstring tightness. It's the same injury that kept him out of an earlier game, but it seems to be minor enough that the team is willing to run him back out there with trust enough to bat him fifth. Through five games this season, Middlebrooks is hitting an astonishing .405/.435/1.000, with at least one extra base hit in each game.
The Sox will turn to Jon Lester on the mound. Last time out, Lester struggled to hold leads but managed to keep the Sox in it with a quality start before they eventually fell in the 13th inning.
Boston Red Sox (12-17)
The Red Sox fell to the Royals 6-4 Tuesday night, leaving their winning streak over at all of one game.
The Sox took an early 2-0 lead in the second, with Will Middlebrooks doubling down the right field line to start the rally. Singles from Marlon Byrd and Kelly Shoppach would score Middlebrooks before walks from Mike Aviles and Dustin Pedroia pushed across another run.
Daniel Bard would have a mostly successful night, but ran into serious difficulties in the bottom half of the second that hurt his final line quite a bit. After a single and a walk put two on with zero outs, Bard offered up two balks to score one runner and move the other to third. Another single tied the game, and a terribly wild pitch sailed very high and behind the batter, moving the runner to second and allowing him to score on a fourth single.
Unfortunately for the Sox, Will Middlebrooks had to leave the game after the top of the second, having aggravated his hamstring running out his double. This would cost the Sox as, after Cody Ross and Adrian Gonzalez walked to start the third, Nick Punto grounded into a double play killing a promising rally prematurely. While Boston would manage to tie the game in the fourth and then take the lead in the fifth, it would prove a costly waste.
That's because, with Bard tiring in the eighth, the Royals started the inning with two quick walks. Bobby Valentine elected to turn to Matt Albers, who had been doing his usual thing, which is to say pretending to be good so he can revert to his career form at the worst possible moment. Albers, meet worst possible moment. On his third pitch to Billy Butler, Albers left a fat fastball middle-middle. Butler took full advantage, launching a loud homer to left to give the Royals the 6-4 lead--one they did not surrender in the ninth, sending the Sox back into the loss column.
Adrian's Back: He didn't go deep, but Adrian Gonzalez showed some very positive signs of life, reaching base three times with a walk, a loud double to center, and a line drive single up the middle on a very nice swing. It's what the first baseman has really needed: strong contact that suggests he's back to his old ways once and for all. He looked like Adrian.
The Other Bard: The Daniel Bard we're most familiar with is a strikeout machine, throwing heat and using a strong slider to get swings and misses. Tonight was a different Bard who we've seen on a couple of occasions this year. Not fully comfortable in his slider, he instead used fastballs--mixing two-seamers with four--to induce ground balls and weak contact. But for the second and eighth, he would have left with a very impressive performance.
Missing Middlebrooks: Looking back at that third inning is a pretty big "what if" moment for the Red Sox. Unfortunately, we'll never know how different the game would have been had had Middlebrooks stayed in. For now, they just have to hope he's back tomorrow--he seemed to have been lifted largely as a precaution.
Will Middlebrooks left Tuesday night's game between the Boston Red Sox and the Kansas City Royals with hamstring tightness, WEEI reports. Nick Punto has entered the game to replace Middlebrooks at third base.
Middlebrooks appeared slow rounding third base from second off of a Marlon Byrd single to right field. Cramping in his hamstring kept him out of Saturday's game as well. Middlebrooks reached base on a double down the right field line with one out before leaving.
As Gethin Coolbaugh pointed out, Middlebrooks has been one of the Red Sox biggest bright spots this season. The youngster upped his average to .409 on the season with the double. Middlebrooks has seven extra-base hits in five major league games played.
The Red Sox currently lead 4-3 at the top of the sixth inning. They are looking to record their 13th win of the season.
The Red Sox are after a second straight win Tuesday night as they take on the Kansas City Royals in Kauffman Stadium.
After taking a high-scoring shootout from the Royals on Monday, the Sox will have to deal with a more difficult opponent in Danny Duffy tonight. We'll keep you up-to-date with all the action as it goes down out west.
Red Sox 4, Royals 6, Final -- 1-2-3 go the Sox, and just like that a win becomes a loss.
Red Sox 4, Royals 6, End 8th -- Oh it was bound to happen. Daniel Bard couldn't keep it together in the eighth, walking the first two batters of the inning, and is pulled for Matt Albers. While Albers has been good for the Sox of late, observant fans with long memories will remember that he is, in fact, a terrible pitcher. This explains why his third pitch was middle-middle to Billy Butler, and why the Red Sox are now losing this game after a three-run shot.
Red Sox 4, Royals 3, Mid 8th -- Marlon Byrd provides the Sox a baserunner--a rare even since Danny Duffy left the game--but then gets picked off as the inning effectively goes 1-2-3.
Red Sox 4, Royals 3, End 7th -- Daniel Bard experiences some difficulty in the seventh, giving up a pair of leadoff singles to land himself in trouble early. But a sacrifice bunt gifts him a first out, Adrian Gonzalez catches a runner at home to keep the tying run out, and the Sox escape with Bard's first strikeout of the night. Quite the solid escape.
Red Sox 4, Royals 3, Mid 7th -- The Red Sox don't score, but Adrian Gonzalez definitely has his swing back, putting a fastball on a line to center field and looking smooth doing it. One week ago and he swings through that or pops it up.
Red Sox 4, Royals 3, End 6th -- Billy Butler gets on base by way of a ground ball single through the right side of the infield, but Daniel Bard's ground balls once again save him from any major trouble, with a double play ball ending the inning.
Red Sox 4, Royals 3, Mid 6th -- Kelvin Herrera has once again settled things down after the departure of the KC starter. After getting Kelly Shoppach to swing through what may have been a 90 MPH changeup, Herrera gets some easy outs on Aviles and Pedroia to end the sixth in a hurry.
Red Sox 4, Royals 3, End 5th -- A leadoff walk breaks up a streak of six straight retired for Daniel Bard, but the next three batters all create weak contact, leaving the Royals stuck at three runs as the game heads to the sixth.
Red Sox 4, Royals 3, Mid 5th -- The Sox take the lead thanks to the reappearance of one Adrian Gonzalez with a loud double to right-center that has just about every Red Sox fan feeling a good deal of relief. After a Nick Punto walk (miracle of miracles), the Royals have a chance to turn an inning-ending double play, but Chris Getz throws the ball away allowing Adrian to score the go-ahead run from second.
Red Sox 3, Royals 3, End 4th -- Daniel Bard's run of form continues, needing just a few more pitches than in the third to record three ground ball outs.
Red Sox 3, Royals 3, Mid 4th -- Some two-out production helps the Sox to tie the game up. Mike Aviles starts the mini-rally off by launching a fly ball over the head of Alex Gordon and to the wall for a double. Dustin Pedroia works a long at bat, fighting off a few two-strike pitches before finally catching one and cueing it into center field for the RBI.
Red Sox 2, Royals 3, End 3rd -- No sign of the shaky bard in the third, as he brushes the terrible second inning off and retires the heart of the Royals lineup 1-2-3 on just five pitches with no hard contact.
Red Sox 2, Royals 3, Mid 3rd -- Nick Punto is just absolutely brutal at the plate. After walks to Cody Ross and Adrian Gonzalez, Punto gets ahead 2-1...and then promptly grounds into a weak double play, effectively ending the rally before Darnell McDonald finishes off the inning with a pop out.
Nick Punto is the rally killer.
Red Sox 2, Royals 3, End 2nd -- Bard comes absolutely unraveled in a disaster of a third inning, even with "just" three runs surrendered. While the leadoff single and walk were bad enough, Bard compounded his problems by offering up not one, but two balks within minutes of eachother. The first came when he failed to step fully to third before firing to first, and the second when he was distracted by the runner he just sent to second with his balk.
Another single up the middle proved enough to score the runner from second, and after a tremendously wild pitch well above the a third
Red Sox 2, Royals 0, Mid 2nd -- The Sox grab a pair of runs off of Danny Duffy in the second, and it is of course Will Middlebrooks leading the charge, working the count full and then shooting a bullet along the ground down the foul line in right for a double. A Marlon Byrd single leaves runners on the corners, and Kelly Shoppach brings Middlebrooks in for the first run of the game with a flare out to center.
Mike Aviles would walk to load the bases, and Dustin Pedroia would work the count full before drawing his own free pass to bring another run in before David Ortiz finally flies out to end a long inning.
The bad news, however, is that Will Middlebrooks is out of the game after pulling up wincing at second. Bad, bad news for the Sox.
Red Sox 0, Royals 0, Mid 1st -- It's hardly the four run first that they had against Jonathan Sanchez on Monday. After Duffy managed to keep the ball on the ground against Mike Aviles and Dustin Pedroia for the first two outs, David Ortiz pulled ahead in the count 3-0, took a strike, and then pulled a fastball to the wall in right for a double. Duffy buckled down against Cody Ross, however, striking out the outfielder on four pitches to end the frame.
Red Sox 0, Royals 0, End 1st -- Daniel Bard enjoys a 1-2-3 first, getting a couple quick ground balls and inducing a lazy fly ball from Billy Butler to left to send the game to the top of the second in a scoreless tie.
The Red Sox are after a second straight win Tuesday as they send Daniel Bard to the mound against Danny Duffy and the Kansas City Royals. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.
After scoring 11 runs on Monday against Jonathan Sanchez and the Royals bullpen, Bobby Valentine will stick with the same lineup against lefty Danny Duffy. Duffy is off to a great start in his first full year in the majors. Through four games he holds a 3.57 ERA, striking out more than a batter per inning. While he's also had some difficulty keeping the ball in the zone, his swing-and-miss stuff has been proven more than enough to make up for it.
Boston Red Sox (12-16)
Kansas City Royals (9-19)
Will Middlebrooks has come on very strong in his first five games with the Boston Red Sox, providing a breath of fresh air for the franchise that has fallen upon tough times recently, as well as its proud fan base.
The Red Sox returned to the win column for the first time in six games Monday night, riding the strength of four homers--two from Will Middlebrooks-- past the Kansas City Royals, 11-5.
While Middlebrooks would make the biggest impact in the first, the Sox would get a bloop RBI single from Adrian Gonzalez for their first run. It was a quick bounce-back after his 0-for-8 performance on Sunday.
One pitch later, and Middlebrooks just barely squeaked a line drive around the pole in right. It wouldn't be quite so impressive a homer were it not for how much the third baseman managed to get on the ball despite such uncertain contact.
The Sox would score again in the third on a David Ortiz solo shot, but thanks to defensive mistakes and bad luck in the bottom half of the inning as well as in the second, Felix Doubront and the Sox were tagged for four runs--two coming thanks to a fly ball misplayed into a double by Marlon Byrd in the second, and two more on a bunt and shattered bat ground ball that an off-balance Middlebrooks ended up throwing into the outfield.
The Sox would build their lead back up to three runs in the fourth as Kelly Shoppach picked up his first career triple and Dustin Pedroia homered to make it 7-4. That's when Bobby V struck, leaving Doubront in after loading the bases on three singles in the seventh so that he might walk the run in with his 111th pitch.
Luckily, Vicente Padilla was there to clean up the mess with a double play, and the Sox quickly added a few more runs in the eighth, with Cody Ross doubling two home before Will Middlebrooks added two of his own with his second long ball of the game--this one high off the foul pole in left. Padilla finished up the last couple of innings without incident, and the Sox left 11-5 winners.
Where There's A Will: Will Middlebrooks was expected to be good. He'd already gone on an extended homer streak down in the minors, but finding his stroke in the majors so quickly and convincingly? Through just four games, Will Middlebrooks has gone deep three times, driven in nine runs, and is hitting a torrid .381/.409/.952. If he can keep up even a small fraction of this pace, the Sox are going to have a difficult decision to make when Kevin Youkilis is healthy again.
Adrian's Slump-Buster: It wasn't Adrian's best night at the plate, but sometimes all you need is to get lucky and see the ball fall in to start figuring things out at the plate again. The Sox will hope this is the case for Adrian Gonzalez, who grabbed a bloop and seeing-eye single in five bats.
Bobby, Bobby, Bobby: He says he's learned, but then he just keeps making the same mistakes. Another slow hook tonight nearly cost the Red Sox some big runs, and with Felix Doubront throwing a career-high 111 pitches, it wasn't like it was some sort of mystery that the left-handed pitcher might be tiring. Even with a tired bullpen, Bobby put the cart before the horse here, and ended up needing just as many outs from the pen as if he hadn't had Doubront surrender the RBI base on balls.
|Final - 5.7.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Boston Red Sox||4||0||1||2||0||0||0||4||0||11||16||1|
|Kansas City Royals||0||2||2||0||0||0||1||0||0||5||10||1|
|WP: Felix Doubront (2 - 1)
SV: Vicente Padilla (1)
LP: Jonathan Sanchez (1 - 2)
The Red Sox and Royals are set to start a three-game set in Kauffman Stadium as they hope their ability to win on the road helps them snap a five game losing streak that has dropped them to 11-16.
We'll keep you up to date with all the action as it goes down in Kansas City.
Red Sox 11, Royals 5, Final -- An 8-out save from Vicente Padilla nets the Red Sox their first win in six tries. Big nights from Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, and of course Will Middlebrooks.
Red Sox 11, Royals 5, Mid 9th -- Aaron Crow manages to strand a pair of Red Sox on the basepaths with a strikeout of David Ortiz. We're headed to the bottom of the ninth and all the Sox need to do is not give up six (or more) runs.
Can't be that hard, can it?
Red Sox 11, Royals 5, End 8th -- Vicente Padilla gets himself in a little bit of trouble with a pair of one-out singles, but gets another double play ball--this time off the bat of Brayan Pena--to end the threat without any damage.
Red Sox 11, Royals 5, Mid 8th -- The Red Sox add some insurance runs, and, oh yes, Will Middlebrooks is an absolute monster. After a walk to Dustin Pedroia and another intentional walk of David Ortiz (by a lefty to get to Cody Ross), the Royals are made to pay as Ross hits a two-run double to the warning track.
Adrian Gonzalez can't produce a third hit, but it doesn't matter, because Will Middlebrooks is up next. Taking the first pitch in the dirt, Middlebrooks gets one in the zone and puts a tremendous charge into the ball, bouncing it high off the left field foul pole for his third homer in two games.
Red Sox 7, Royals 5, End 7th -- Bobby Valentine's slow hook nearly costs the Sox another game in the seventh. With Felix Doubront's pitch count rising, Bobby watches him allow three singles and record just one out in the inning...and then leaves him in to walk in the fifth Kansas City run.
Vicente Padilla manages to save the day by getting Billy Butler to ground into a double play, but how much more proof do the Sox need that he's not the right man for this job.
Or any job for that matter?
Red Sox 7, Royals 4, Mid 7th -- The hits just keep on coming for Will Middlebrooks. After Adrian Gonzalez leads off the inning with a seeing-eye single up the middle, Middlebrooks launches a 2-1 fastball over Dyson's head in center for a double.
Unfortunately, even with men on second and third with nobody out, Kelvin Herrera is able to keep the Sox off the board with a triple digit fastball, getting three quick outs without a one of them being productive.
Red Sox 7, Royals 4, End 6th -- What a frame from Felix Doubront! Alex Gordon and Jeff Francoeur each go down swinging on three pitches a piece, and Doubront gets Moustakas to fly out with just two more. On a night which could have seen him avoid any runs, he's managed to overcome defensive lapses and bad luck well enough to pitch into the seventh.
Red Sox 7, Royals 4, Mid 6th -- Another scoreless frame for Royals relievers, as they make the wise decision to intentionally walk David Ortiz after a Dustin Pedroia double and then get Cody Ross to ground into a double play to end the inning.
Red Sox 7, Royals 4, End 5th -- A two out single breaks up a streak of six batters retired in a row for Felix Doubront, but he recovers to record the final out in a hurry and send the game to the sixth inning.
At 78 pitches, Doubront has a chance to go deep for the Sox for once, which is much-needed one day after the bullpen was forced to throw some 13 innings. He's not had a strikeout yet tonight, but perhaps that's to credit for his low pitch count.
Red Sox 7, Royals 4, Mid 5th -- The Royals keep the Sox off the board for an inning, albeit only thanks to a pitchout which catches Darnell McDonald between bases for the second out.
Red Sox 7, Royals 4, End 4th -- Felix Doubront has a 1-2-3 inning, taking matters into his own hands for the second out by knocking down a line drive with some combination of glove and thigh. If you want a job done right, they say, you have to do it yourself.
Red Sox 7, Royals 4, Mid 4th -- The Sox make it a three-run game again and chase Jonathan Sanchez as Kelly Shoppach and Dustin Pedroia contribute to the Boston cause. Shoppach leads off the inning by going all the way to the wall in center field for what becomes his first career triple as it hits off of Alex Gordon's wrist. After Shoppach scores on Mike Aviles' ground out, Dustin Pedroia makes it 7-4 with an opposite field shot--his fourth homer of the young campaign.
Red Sox 5, Royals 4, End 3rd -- Felix Doubront must have walked under a ladder or broken a mirror or be playing for the Red Sox, because nothing is going right for him right now. A drag bunt to second gets the Royals a leadoff baserunner, and a shattered bat ground ball that Will Middlebrooks has to make an off-balance throw on from next to the mound costs the Sox a couple runs as the throw goes wide of Adrian Gonzalez and into the outfield, allowing Alex Gordon to reach third and Jarrod Dyson to score. With Gordon scoring on a ground ball to second, the Sox' lead was cut to just the one run.
Red Sox 5, Royals 2, Mid 3rd -- It had been about a week since David Ortiz' last home run, so...he was due, I guess. Getting ahead 1-0, Ortiz got a pitch over the plate and blasted a high fly ball that just kept carrying well over the wall in center for the solo shot.
Red Sox 4, Royals 2, End 2nd -- Kansas City strikes back for a pair of runs in the second with the help of a bit of a misplay by Marlon Byrd, who allows a long fly to center to fall behind him as he hesitantly chases it towards the warning track. The double moves Jeff Francoeur, on by way of a leadoff walk, to third, and both score on productive outs.
Red Sox 4, Royals 0, Mid 2nd -- Sanchez calms down with the help of his defense, as Mike Moustakas makes a diving stop on a hard shot to third to get Kelly Shoppach for the second out. Mike Aviles would single up the middle to give the Sox a baserunner, but Dustin Pedroia could only fly out to center, ending the threat.
Red Sox 4, Royals 0, End 1st -- Felix Doubront gives up a four pitch walk with two outs, strangely bringing Bobby Valentine to the mound. Whatever Valentine said, it certainly didn't hurt, as the next two pitches found the zone for strikes before the third pitch got Hosmer to pop out to third.
Red Sox 4, Royals 0, Mid 1st -- Talk about the perfect start for the Red Sox--they got exactly what they needed in the top of the first. Mike Aviles flew out to start the game off on the wrong foot, but Dustin Pedroia drew a walk to give the Sox a baserunner. David Ortiz made it two with a line drive into center field before Cody Ross struck out to put Adrian Gonzalez in a big spot.
Adrian didn't have the prettiest at bat. He looked ready to swing at a couple of bad pitches before pulling up short, and in the end was jammed on a 3-2 pitch, but as luck would have it he managed to find the perfect patch of grass in shallow left for the RBI single. Hopefully that's all he'll need to get started.
Perhaps more important for the Red Sox, however, is that he managed to get Will Middlebrooks to the plate with two men on. The rookie third baseman is clearly feeling it now. Receiving a first pitch just above the belt and away, Will Middlebrooks' power showed through as he almost tapped the ball down the right field line and around the foul pole for a three-run shot, giving the Sox a 4-0 lead.
The Red Sox will open up their series against the Royals Monday night with Adrian Gonzalez in a new, lower position in the order against Jonathan Sanchez. First pitch is at 8:10 p.m. EST with broadcasts by NESN and WEEI.
After a terrible 0-for-8 night at the plate Sunday, including a three-pitch strikeout against first baseman Chris Davis, Gonzalez finds himself demoted to the fifth spot in the lineup, with David Ortiz taking over the third spot and Cody Ross batting fourth against the left-handed Sanchez.
While it hasn't been a stellar start to the season for Adrian Gonzalez in any aspect of the game, against lefties he's been particularly moribund, batting .250/.286/.375. Whether this change stays in place against righties and how much it will take from Gonzalez to undo it remains to be seen.
Boston Red Sox (11-16)
Kansas City Royals (9-18)
After a seventeen inning marathon sent them to their fifth straight loss, the Red Sox will head to Kansas City at a new low point in their season, hoping that a road trip can provide the same boost that it did in Minnesota and Chicago.
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