After looking sloppy in the first two contests at Kauffman Stadium, the Red Sox were able to bank consecutive wins — including Thursday's 10-3 win over the Royals — to split the four-game set.
Buchholz went 6 2/3 innings while David Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury led the offense to the win, manager Terry Francona’s 561st win as the Red Sox skipper. With the victory, Tito passed Mike “Pinky” Higgins for second most ever for the franchise behind Sox legend Joe Cronin’s 1,071 victories.
The victory also lowered the Red Sox' magic number for clinching a playoff spot to three games.
Red Sox 10, Royals 3
Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
September 23, 2009
Headliners: Clay Buchholz held the Royals to just five hits over 6 2/3 shutout innings and retired 13 batters in a row after Billy Butler’s one-out single in the first inning. The righty struck out eight and walked none as he won his sixth straight decision and earned his seventh victory of the year.
David Ortiz drove in three runs on three hits including his 26th homer of the season in a three-run fourth. Dustin Pedroia finished with two hits and two RBIs and extended his hitting streak to 16 games while Victor Martinez, who had a pair of hits, extended his hitting streak to 23.
Dirt dog: Jacoby Ellsbury finished the evening 3-for-6 with an RBI, two runs scored and two steals, his 65th and 66th bags of the year.
Better luck next time: Reliever Ramon Ramirez botched Buchholz's shutout in the eighth by allowing three runs to score. The former Royal lasted just 2/3 of an inning and was pulled after allowing three hits including a Billy Butler homer to left.
The Royals defense did all it could to help Boston out as well, committing five errors, including two by shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. It was the club's first five-error game since 2002.
Key moment: After the Royals cut the Sox' lead in half in the eighth with three runs, the Boston bats broke out with four more runs in the ninth highlighted by Big Papi's two-run double to left to put things back out of reach.
On deck: The Sox pack their bags and head to the Bronx to take on the Evil Empire in a three-game weekend set. The Yankees, whose magic number to clinch the division is five, lead Boston by six games. New York enjoyed a day off Thursday after taking two of three from the Angels out west. Boston leads the season series 9-6.
Jon Lester will toe the rubber Friday in search of win No. 15, which would be one victory shy of his career-high 16 set last year. Lester has won his last six decisions and is 9-1 in his last 10 decisions. The lefty has also allowed not allowed an earned run in two of his last three starts. Lester, 3-0 lifetime against New York, is 1-0 in three starts against the Yankees this year. His only win came on May 4 at Yankee Stadium when he held the Yanks to three runs on six hits over seven innings.
Squaring off against the Sox is Joba Chamberlain, who is 8-6 with a 4.72 ERA this season. The big righty hasn’t won since Aug. 6 when he held the Sox to four runs in five innings en route to New York’s 13-6 win. In five career starts against the BoSox, Chamberlain owns a 3-1 record and a 4.05 ERA.
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