Final, Red Sox 6-0: Junichi Tazawa and Edward Mujica combined for a scoreless ninth inning.
The Red Sox completed a three-game sweep of the Royals behind another fantastic performance by Jon Lester. Lester tossed eight shutout innings en route to earning his 10th win of the season.
Lester allowed just four hits Sunday while striking out eight and walking two. He threw 115 pitches (77 strikes).
The Red Sox received offensive contributions from several players. Daniel Nava, Shane Victorino, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brock Holt each had three hits. Nava drove in two runs and David Ross drilled his sixth home run of the season.
The Red Sox now have won seven of their last eight games and head to Toronto riding high.
End 8th, Red Sox 6-0: Jackie Bradley Jr. and Daniel Nava walked in the eighth inning. Neither scored.
Bradley and Nava each have reached base three times in this contest. David Ortiz grounded out to end the inning.
Jon Lester’s day is done after eight sensational innings.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 6-0: Stephen Drew helped Jon Lester make it through the eighth inning.
Lester issued a leadoff walk to Lorenzo Cain. Omar Infante then hit a ground ball that appeared destined for center field until Drew intervened.
Drew laid out to rob Infante. The shortstop flipped to second base, where Dustin Pedroia turned one of the most impressive double plays you’ll see this season.
The Fenway Faithful gave Drew a huge ovation. Lester even took a second to appreciate the glove work, pointing in Drew’s direction as if to say, “Thanks, dude.”
Lester struck out Eric Hosmer to cap the inning and likely his outing.
End 7th, Red Sox 6-0: Francisely Bueno was excellent.
Bueno walked Mike Carp on five pitches to begin the bottom of the seventh inning. He rebounded for three straight K’s.
Shane Victorino, Stephen Drew and David Ross struck out in order in the seventh. Bueno struck out four over 2 2/3 scoreless innings.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 6-0: Jon Lester is in the driver’s seat.
Lester tossed a scoreless seventh inning. He retired Alcides Escobar, Brett Hayes and Nori Aoki in order.
Lester has thrown 103 pitches (72 strikes) through his seven shutout innings. There isn’t any action in Boston’s bullpen at this point, so it appears he’ll be back out for the eighth inning.
End 6th, Red Sox 6-0: Francisely Bueno has done a nice job in relief of Yordano Ventura.
Bueno, who recorded the final two outs of the fifth inning to wiggle the Royals out of a bases-loaded jam, worked a scoreless sixth inning.
Daniel Nava, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz went down in order.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 6-0: Jon Lester ran into some trouble but again escaped scot-free.
Eric Hosmer drilled a ball to the left field wall with one out. It could have gone for extra bases, but Daniel Nava played it very well.
Alex Gordon worked a two-out walk after Lester struck out Danny Valencia. That set up runners at first and second for Billy Butler.
Butler yanked a hot shot to the left side. Brock Holt made a tremendous diving play, popped up and fired across the diamond to Mike Carp, who capped the inning-ending out with an excellent pick.
End 5th, Red Sox 6-0: Francisley Bueno helped the Royals overcome manager Ned Yost’s curious decision to leave in Yordano Ventura to begin the bottom of the fifth inning.
Ventura simply didn’t have it. The Red Sox continued to make life difficult for the hard-throwing righty in the fifth, as Mike Carp, Shane Victorino and Stephen Drew loaded the bases with no outs.
Carp and Drew walked. Victorino singled into center field, marking his second hit of the contest.
David Ross popped out to catcher Brett Hayes for the inning’s first out, after which Yost finally turned to his bullpen. Hayes had to battle the crowd while leaning over into the seats near home plate to make the catch.
Bueno entered and struck out Jackie Bradley Jr. on three pitches. Bradley couldn’t check his swing on an 0-2 slider out of the zone.
Brock Holt flied out to center field to end the bases-loaded threat.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 6-0: Jon Lester looks like Jon Lester.
Lester surrendered a leadoff double in the fifth inning but otherwise kept rolling. He recorded his sixth strikeout of the contest, sitting down Brett Hayes on three pitches.
Nori Aoki grounded out. Lorenzo Cain lined out to Daniel Nava in left field to strand Alcides Escobar at third base.
End 4th, Red Sox 6-0: The Red Sox are beating up on rookie Yordano Ventura.
Shane Victorino led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a double. Victorino has hit the ground running in his return to the Red Sox’s starting lineup.
David Ross then lifted a two-run homer into the Monster Seats with one out. Ross has 20 hits this season. Six are home runs and 11 have gone for extra bases.
Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brock Holt followed Ross’ blast with back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners for Daniel Nava. Bradley, Holt and Nava each have two hits.
Nava lifted a sacrifice fly to center field. He now has three RBIs, as he drilled a two-run double in the third inning.
The Red Sox have eight hits total.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 3-0: Jon Lester needed just 11 pitches to work a 1-2-3 fourth inning. Seven came in one at-bat.
Danny Valencia skied Lester’s first pitch of the fourth to left field, where Daniel Nava made the catch for the inning’s first out.
Lester capped a seven-pitch battle against Alex Gordon with a strikeout. The lefty then fanned Billy Butler on three pitches.
Lester has five strikeouts total.
End 3rd, Red Sox 3-0: Daniel Nava has two hits. His second knock drove in a pair.
David Ross and Jackie Bradley Jr. reached to begin the third inning. Ross walked and Bradley, who continues to swing a hot bat, singled into center field.
Brock Holt grounded to the right side, which enabled both Ross and Bradley to advance a station. Nava then drove them both in by staying back on a curveball located down and in for a two-run double.
Dustin Pedroia walked to keep the threat going. David Ortiz grounded out and Mike Carp flied out to end the inning.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 1-0: Jon Lester enjoyed a quick and painless third inning.
Lester struck out two while working a 1-2-3 frame. He struck out Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer looking.
Cain went down looking at a 93 mph fastball. Lester put away Hosmer with a cutter.
End 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: The Red Sox went down in order in the second inning.
Mike Carp led off with a ground ball to third base handled by Danny Valencia.
Shane Victorino and Stephen Drew both took aim at center field. Lorenzo Cain was up to the challenge.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: The Royals left a runner in scoring position.
Alcides Escobar reached on a one-out infield single. Escobar hit a slow roller down the third base line that Brock Holt had no chance to convert into an out. Holt wisely ate it, though not literally.
Brett Hayes followed with a similar roller in Holt’s direction. This time, Holt managed to barehand it and fire a strong throw to first for the out.
Nori Aoki hit a chopper back to the mound that Jon Lester fielded. Lester flipped an iffy toss to first base, but Mike Carp handled it.
End 1st, Red Sox 1-0: Brock Holt and Daniel Nava started the Red Sox’s offensive attack with back-to-back singles.
Nava’s knock sent Holt from first to third. Holt scored when Dustin Pedroia grounded to short for a forceout.
David Ortiz ended the inning with a 5-6-3 double play, but Boston’s offense already is moving in the right direction.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Jon Lester worked around a couple of baserunners in the first inning.
Lester recorded two very quick outs, striking out Lorenzo Cain and retiring Omar Infante on a popout to second base.
A pitch to Eric Hosmer got away from the left-hander, though. Lester nearly took Hosmer’s head off. The pitch appeared to hit Hosmer on the hand, though it also was close to hitting the bat.
Danny Valencia followed with a single into center field.
Alex Gordon gave one a ride to center field, where Jackie Bradley Jr. safely camped under it to end the inning.
1:40 p.m.: Jon Lester has set up on the mound. We’re underway.
Noon ET: Xander Bogaerts and Mike Napoli are out of the Red Sox’s lineup.
Both absences represent routine off days. Bogaerts’ absence stems from Boston’s attempt to keep Brock Holt in the lineup on an everyday basis in the wake of right fielder Shane Victorino returning. Holt will play third base Sunday.
David Ross will be behind the dish with Jon Lester toeing the rubber.
Sunday’s complete lineups are below.
Boston Red Sox (45-52)
Brock Holt, 3B
Daniel Nava, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Carp, 1B
Shane Victorino, RF
Stephen Drew, SS
David Ross, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Jon Lester, LHP (9-7, 2.65 ERA)
Kansas City Royals (48-48)
Lorenzo Cain, CF
Omar Infante, 2B
Eric Hosmer, 1B
Danny Valencia, 3B
Alex Gordon, LF
Billy Butler, DH
Alcides Escobar, SS
Brett Hayes, C
Nori Aoki, RF
Yordano Ventura, RHP (7-7, 3.22 ERA)
11:30 a.m. ET: The Boston Red Sox are gaining momentum. It couldn’t come at a better time.
The Red Sox have won six of their last seven games, including their first two contests of the second half. They’ll send Jon Lester to the hill in Sunday’s series finale against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park before traveling north for four important games against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre beginning Monday.
The Red Sox will play 13 consecutive games against American League East opponents following Sunday’s finale. It represents a make-or-break stretch for Boston, which sits seven games below .500 (45-52) and 8 1/2 games back in the division.
If the past is any indication, the Red Sox have a good chance to complete a three-game sweep Sunday. Lester is 6-3 with a 1.60 ERA and a .178 opponent batting average in 10 career starts against the Royals. He has allowed zero or one earned run in eight of his 10 career starts against Kansas City, including his no-hitter on May 19, 2008.
Lester will face hard-throwing right-hander Yordano Ventura, who has had a solid rookie season. Ventura is 7-7 with a 3.22 ERA. The 23-year-old has 11 quality starts — the second-most by a rookie behind New York Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka.
Sunday’s first pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. Tune in on NESN and keep it right here with NESN.com.