The Red Sox secured a series split against the Royals with an 8-6 victory Sunday afternoon.
Felix Doubront started off sharp, looking rejuvinated by the two weeks off. He recorded three scoreless innings out of the gate, striking out four. The only real negative was that the Royals were making him work, building up his pitch count early. With the Red Sox on a short bullpen and Doubront having just come off the DL for fatigue-related issues, it was a concerning development.
Still, the offense had given him a lead to work with. One run came across in the first on a Cody Ross single, and another in the second on a Mike Aviles wall ball double. Only a double play in the first and line out in the second kept the Sox from scoring more than the two.
In the third, however, Will Smith kept the Red Sox off the basepaths, sending the game to the top of the fourth where Felix just seemed to wear down. After recording two quick outs, Doubront lost the bite on his offerings, and was punished for it with three straight singles to cut Boston's lead in half. What was left of it would evaporate immediately thereafter, when Lorenzo Cain put a 92 MPH fastball into the Monster seats on a line for a 4-2 Royals lead.
The Sox waited only one inning to battle back. With one out in the fifth inning, Pedro Ciriaco did what Cain did but a good few yards higher, if with nobody on base. The solo shot bounced halfway up the AAA sign over the Monster seats to bring the Sox within one before a single and walk set up the newly-arrived James Loney for a game-tying base hit. The inning could have been worth more were it not for a terrible call at first that cost Dustin Pedroia an infield single and led to Bobby Valentine's ejection.
Boston would keep their foot on the pedal from there. The sixth inning saw the Sox take the lead on an error and two singles, and another error along with three base hits and a walk made it 7-4 by the end of the seventh.
The Mets would produce a rally in the eighth, as Pedro Beato faltered in the third inning of his debut, loading the bases with zero outs. Craig Breslow was able to limit the damage to just the two runs, however, striking out two batters around a sacrifice fly and ground ball single to keep the Sox in the lead. Dustin Pedroia doubled that lead with a leadoff homer in the eighth, and Mark Melancon picked up the save, securing at least a series split for the Red Sox.