For those of you not so consumed by the talk of massive blockbuster trades, we present to you a baseball game.
Red Sox 4, Royals 3, Mid 8th -- Jon Lester's night ends when he grabs at his hamstring in the middle of the first at bat of the inning. Vicente Padilla comes on and gives up an infield single before striking out Jeff Francoeur, bringing Andrew Miller in to face left-handed Mike Moustakas, who pops up for the second out. Bobby V once again turns to the pen, bringing in Andrew Bailey to finish the job with a fly ball out.
Red Sox 4, Royals 3, End 7th -- Pedro the Clutch comes through again! After Mauro Gomez and Mike Aviles gave the Red Sox a pair of leadoff baserunners and Scott Podsednik bunted them into scoring position, Pedro Ciriaco fell behind 0-2, swung at a pitch that was headed directly towards his shoetops...and hit it. Plate discipline isn't Ciriaco's thing, but when he's able to pull his knees back and golf that into left field, over the third baseman's head for a two-run double, why should he have to?
Royals 3, Red Sox 2, Mid 7th -- Jon Lester is through four straight strong innings since giving up the lead to the Royals in the second and third. Despite struggling with the zone a bit again, Lester is able to work around the one walk, retiring three of four batters faced in the inning to escape to the bottom of the seventh.
Royals 3, Red Sox 2, End 6th -- After a leadoff double for Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz picks a bad time to record his first out of the night, striking out on five pitches. With neither Cody Ross or Ryan Lavarnway able to pick up the needed hit, Pedroia is left stranded on the basepaths.
Royals 3, Red Sox 2, Mid 6th -- It's been a bit messy at times, but Jon Lester has himself a quality start in spite of it all after getting through the sixth inning 1-2-3. Eric Hosmer ends it with a strikeout, giving Lester six on the night.
Royals 3, Red Sox 2, End 5th -- The Red Sox respond in kind, going down in order for the second straight inning as Chen seems to have found his rhythm after early struggles.
Royals 3, Red Sox 2, Mid 5th -- Jon Lester induces a double play to erase a leadoff single, earning a bounce-back 1-2-3 frame after a tough fourth.
Royals 3, Red Sox 2, End 4th -- Bruce Chen picks up his first 1-2-3 inning of the night against the bottom of the lineup.
Royals 3, Red Sox 2, Mid 4th -- The Red Sox flirt with disaster, but end up just surrendering the one run to the Royals in what could be considered a relieving finish to the inning. While Lester loads up the bases, growing increasingly frustrated with a tight zone, the only reason the Royals are able to score is because Mauro Gomez can't connect with the covering Lester at first in time on a ground ball. The run comes in on the infield single, which is so often the sort of thing that kicks off a meltdown for this team, but Lester manages to induce the double play immediately thereafter to end the inning.
Red Sox 2, Royals 2, End 3rd -- The Sox likely should have struck back in the third, with Jacoby Ellsbury leading off the frame with a single and David Ortiz doubling shortly thereafter (once again on the first pitch he saw), but Ellsbury gets himself caught trying to steal second, and so Ortiz' double goes for naught.
Red Sox 2, Royals 2, Mid 3rd -- Another day, another bad top of the third for the Red Sox. This one is not nearly so dramatic as the beating the Angels put on them the night before, but with the lead smaller to begin with, it's enough to tie it up all the same. Eric Hosmer gets it started on the first pitch, a fastball over the plate that Hosmer quickly drops into the monster seats for a run. An error from Mike Aviles is erased as the Sox manage to turn a double play, but a walk and a double prove enough to earn the Royals the tie in the third.
Red Sox 2, Royals 0, End 2nd -- The Red Sox get another leadoff baserunner as Ryan Lavarnway finds a hole in the infield with a ground ball. Mike Aviles ends up replacing him on the basepaths with two outs when he grounds into a fielders' choice, reaching second as the Dodgers botched a double play attempt on his grounder and taking third on a Scott Podsednik single. Pedro Ciriaco followed up with a pop-up, however, keeping the Sox off the board.
Red Sox 2, Royals 0, Mid 2nd -- Jon Lester keeps right on rolling, striking out Brayan Pena to end a 1-2-3 second inning.
Red Sox 2, Royals 0, End 1st -- Pedro Ciriaco continues to swing a hot bat, lining a single up the middle after a reasonably lengthy at bat. Jacoby Ellsbury reaches behind him by matching the leadoff dribbler from Lorenzo Cain with one of his own. While Dustin Pedroia is unable to replicate Ellsbury and Cain's feat, leaving the ball close enough to the mound for Bruce Chen to make a play on, he does bring David Ortiz to the plate for the first time in a month with two men in scoring position. Chen delivers a sinker to Ortiz for the first pitch he's seen in a long while, and that's all the designated hitter needs, sending it back up the middle on a line to bring home both runners. Welcome back, Papi!
Red Sox 0, Royals 0, Mid 1st -- Lester gets off to a tough-luck start when Lorenzo Cain dribbles a ground ball to third base for an infield single, but doesn't let that get to him. Cody Ross is able to come in and make a good catch on a sinking line drive to save Lester from more leadoff trouble, and he builds on that by striking out both Alex Gordon and Billy Butler to end the inning.