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Red Sox 6, Royals 1: Offense From Unexpected Sources Backs Lester's Strong Outing

The Red Sox downed the Orioles 6-1 Sunday afternoon thanks to some offense from unexpected places.

Through the first fourth innings, it wasn't entirely clear that they'd get any offense at all. Despite facing the hapless Danny Duffy with his ERA of well over 5, the Sox managed all of three baserunners in the first four frames, with both Darnell McDonald and Marco Scutaro running into outs on the basepaths. It was a scary sight after the last two games had given Boston fans hope that their offense was back in order after its poor performance in recent weeks.

Jon Lester, however, wasn't letting Kansas City take advantage of the slow start, holding them hitless through the first three innings before a two-out blooper broke things up. While his peripherals on the day wouldn't end up being terribly impressive, he had to deal with a small zone all day, and an error by Jed Lowrie ultimately cost him 11 extra pitches, forcing him to work from a difficult position all game long. 

The Sox would finally back him up in the fifth inning when Jason Varitek, of all people, picked up a two-out RBI triple--his first three-bagger in four years--to score Jed Lowrie from second. Again, in the sixth, an unusual source provided a big hit, as Darnell McDonald went deep to left to score another run. The seventh didn't prove much different, as Carl Crawford launched a long home run to right, making it 3-0.

Now with a lead, Jon Lester returned in the seventh, running into really the only big trouble the Royals offense would provide all day. Johnny Giavotella led off the frame with a triple, Salvador Perez walked, and one hit later the lead was down to 3-1 without an out in the inning.

Luckily, the Sox had Daniel Bard on call, and the fireman played his roll early, recording the next three outs in rapid fashion, not allowing either inherited runner to score. Not content with the close game, the Sox opened up for three more in the eighth, leading off the inning with three straight hits and capping things off with a double from Ryan Lavarnway that missed being gone by inches, bouncing off the top of the wall in left as the rookie continued his strong start with a 2-for-4 game. When all was said and done, the Sox had a 6-1 lead and, with another inning from Bard and a clean ninth from Dan Wheeler, a 3-1 series win to rest on heading into Texas.