The Red Sox will take on the Royals once more as they send Felix Doubront to the mound against Will Smith. We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Fenway Park.
Red Sox 8, Royals 6, End 8th -- Dustin Pedroia gives the Sox some once-more vital insurance with a leadoff homer. They'll need a decent outing from Mark Melancon to save the game, however.
Red Sox 7, Royals 6, Mid 8th -- The short-handed bullpen forces the Red Sox to stick with Pedro Beato for a third inning, and his debut comes crumbling down as he loads the bases without recording an out. Finally, the Sox turn to Craig Breslow, and he provides about as much as anyone can hope for, striking out the first batter, giving up a sacrifice fly and ground ball single that lets the Royals climb within one before picking up the third out with another K.
Red Sox 7, Royals 4, End 7th -- The Sox grab some very helpful insurance runs in the seventh. Two singles and a walk load the bases with just one out for Mike Aviles, but the shortstop strikes out swinging. Scott Podsednik seems ready to end the inning when he grounds to Alcides Escobar, but the defense fails the Royals once again, with the shortstop having the ball bounce off his glove and far enough away to let Podsednik reach base and a run to score. Another infield single from who else but Pedro Ciriaco, and it was a three-run Red Sox lead.
Red Sox 5, Royals 4, Mid 7th -- A two-out single is all Beato surrenders in his second inning of work, and that is erased as Alex Gordon is caught trying to take second.
Red Sox 5, Royals 4, End 6th -- The Red Sox seem prepared to waste a chance, as a pop-up and strikeout fail to move leadoff runners from first and second, but Jacoby Ellsbury is able to come through. The center fielder hits a line drive off the top of a leaping Eric Hosmer's glove, allowing the go-ahead run to score.
Red Sox 4, Royals 4, Mid 6th -- Pedro Beato, acquired from the Mets for Kelly Shoppach, makes a successful Red Sox debut, retiring the Kansas City side in order, 1-2-3.
Red Sox 4, Royals 4, End 5th -- Despite an absolutely terrible call and a Bobby Valentine ejection, the Red Sox fight there way back into a tie in the fifth. For a guy who's not supposed to have much power, Pedro Ciriaco started the rally with an absolutely massive home run to left field, with the ball hitting halfway up the AAA sign over the Monster on a line.
Jacoby Ellsbury followed up by finding the hole between first and second, but then came some controversy. Despite a Tony Abreu bobble on a ground ball from Dustin Pedroia, the Royals got the out at first as Eric Hosmer pulled off the bag to try and catch Jacoby Ellsbury rounding second. Except that it didn't look at all right, and replays confirmed: not only had Dustin Pedroia beat the throw to a bag by a good bit, but Hosmer had clearly come off the bag early. The double whammy brought an incensed Bobby Valentine out to argue, resulting in a quick ejection from the game.
Still, the Sox are able to make up for the umpire's mistake as James Loney picks up his first hit in a Red Sox uniform: a ground ball up the middle that scores Ellsbury to tie the game at 4-4.
Royals 4, Red Sox 2, Mid 5th -- You wouldn't know Doubront had just imploded in the inning before. Striking out Billy Butler to start it, Doubront works a 1-2-3 fifth to keep the deficit at two.
Royals 4, Red Sox 2, End 4th -- Smith goes into lockdown mode, getting three very quick ground balls to force Doubront back onto the mound in a hurry.
Royals 4, Red Sox 2, Mid 4th -- The two weeks off may have purchased Doubront eleven sharp outs, but not twelve. With two away, Doubront started giving up solid contact. Three straight hits scored a run and put two on, and on just the second pitch he saw Lorenzo Cain put a 92 MPH fastball into the Monster seats on the line. It might be time to shut Felix down for the season.
Red Sox 2, Royals 0, End 3rd -- Will Smith finally has himself a quiet inning, retiring the middle of the order 1-2-3 to send the game to the fourth.
Red Sox 2, Royals 0, Mid 3rd -- Doubront's pitch count isn't helped any when a double play ball is thrown into the outfield by Pedro Ciriaco, costing his pitcher at the very least one out. With two on and one down, however, Doubront picks up a pop-up, and then strikes out Billy Butler with a good curveball that Butler can't help but offer at.
Red Sox 2, Royals 0, End 2nd -- The Sox push another run accross of of Will Smith as Mauro Gomez drew a walk and scored on a wall ball double from Mike Aviles. A Scott Podsednik single puts runners on the corners for the Sox with two outs, but they can't pick up a third run before the inning ends.
Red Sox 1, Royals 0, Mid 2nd -- Another lone baserunner for the Royals against Felix Doubront, another clean inning for the southpaw. This time, though, it comes with two strikeouts, and just the 14 pitches.
Red Sox 1, Royals 0, End 1st -- The Sox find their bats early against Will Smith, though there's plenty of luck to it. A pair of soft fly balls are enough to get them a single and a double, with the latter a pop-up from Dustin Pedroia which neither Eric Hosmer nor Jeff Francoeur can reach in right. Cody Ross laces a single into left field to score one of the runners behind him, but the inning fails to follow through on its full promise as James Loney debuts with a double play.
Red Sox 0, Royals 0, Mid 1st -- Felix Doubront's first inning back is a successful one, if fairly long. Despite giving up just the one hit, a single to Alcides Escobar, it's Doubront's 22nd pitch that gets him out of the inning with a strikeout of Billy Butler. That's not ideal, given how haggard the bullpen is after last night's marathon.