Sure, the walks-to-strikeout ratio was at 1:1 (four walks, four whiffs), but when coupled with just four hits, that's more than OK.
The defense got the job done tonight, and while the Red Sox struggled to deliver on several RBI chances, all that mattered in the end was the single run that was notched in the bottom of the second when Mike Lowell delivered a productive out, grounding to second and bringing Adrian Beltre home from third.
With the win, the Royals' three-game winning streak is snapped and the Red Sox avoid the unpleasant thought of having to avoid a four-game sweep by the Royals on Sunday. Ace Jon Lester will toe the mound at 1:35 p.m. See you then.
End 9th, 1-0 Red Sox: A 95-mph fastball gets the inning started.
Billy Butler flies out to defensive replacement Darnell McDonald and punches out Guillen on a 1-2 count. Papelbon had thrown nothing but gas since coming into the game until the final pitch to Guillen, which was a splitter.
Betancourt is the last out, fitting because he drove the stake into the heart of the Red Sox on Friday night when he — Betancourt, of all people — delivered a grand slam. There will be no such grand slam this time, as Papelbon induces a fly to left.
End 8th, 1-0 Red Sox: Drew gets things started with a pop-up to left field off new pitcher Blake Wood. Wood is a rookie who has a 1.04 ERA in just 8 1/3 innings.
Papelbon is warming up for the ninth.
Lowell grounds to second, and Hermida follows suit. If all goes well in the top ninth, the Boston bats will be done for the night.
Mid 8th, 1-0 Red Sox: It's Dan Bard replacing Buchholz. He coughs up a leadoff double to Jason Kendall and advances on a Podsednik dribbler to Bard.
The filthy slider strikes again and Aviles takes a lonely walk to the bench.
Pedroia makes a great snag, bending backwards and sliding to field a hot grounder by DeJesus to retire the hot hitter. Almost saw a tie game there.
End 7th, 1-0 Red Sox: Greinke's night is done, with Tejeda in to replace.
Scoot works a walk as Roy Halladay has just notched a perfect game against the Marlins. Congratulations to the Phillie, one of the best pitchers of the 2000s.
Pedroia grounds out to second and Aviles doesn't bother trying to get the play at second. Scoot's in scoring position for Ortiz … who walks on four pitches.
Butler makes a nice backhand of Martinez's grounder and flips to Tejeda who can't keep it secure. Bases juiced.
Beltre can't capitalize, grounding into a double play to Betancourt. Onto the eighth.
Mid 7th, 1-0 Red Sox: The 100th pitch by Buchholz retires Callaspo.
The inning ends on a Maier flyout and Betancourt groundout. It'll be interesting to see if Buchholz gets sent out for the 8th.
9:12 p.m.: By the way, things couldn't be going better for Roy Halladay right now through eight innings. I'll let you read between the lines.
End 6th, 1-0 Red Sox: Mike Lowell skies one to left field. Greinke follows up with a grounder to second by Hermida.
Unfortunately, Aviles makes an error and Hermida reaches. Greinke still doesn't have a 1-2-3 inning.
It works out for the best as Cameron rips a line drive right at third base and Callaspo zips the ball to first to double off Hermida.
Mid 6th, 1-0 Red Sox: Scoot gets charged with an error, which is a tough error to get. He had to range to his left a good distance and couldn't come up with the ball. Even if he had gotten it, I can't imagine he could have thrown out the speedy Podsednik.
It's OK, though, as Scotty Po gets thrown out at second base by V-Mart. Very impressive piece of throwing. Pedroia had a nice pick of the throw as well.
Mike Cameron makes a catch with his back to the plate near the warning track for the second out, and then DeJesus rips a line drive high and to the right of Beltre. Beltre does whatever he can to get glove on the ball, but he doesn't get enough and the ball trickles into left field. DeJesus ends up with a double.
After pitching Butler to a 2-0 count, the Red Sox decide to intentionally walk him for Jose Guillen. The move turns out smartly as Guillen hacks a first pitch to Beltre who registers the force at second.
End 5th, 1-0 Red Sox: Greinke induces Scutaro to pop to short and Pedroia to fly to center.
This marks Ortiz's third trip to the plate and he's 0-2 on the night.
And Big Papi registers his first hit of the night with a wall-scraping double.
Greinke walks Victor Martinez and Beltre comes to bat now. The first pitch is a ball, and that will bring the catcher out to talk to the right-hander who just registered his 100th pitch of the game. Greinke certainly doesn't look happy.
Four straight balls to Beltre, and Greinke seems to be losing it. Robinson Tejeda gets the action started in the 'pen and J.D. Drew has a chance to blow this game open … and as I type that, he grounds to first. Inning over. Next time, J.D.
Mid 5th, 1-0 Red Sox: Alberto Callaspo grounds to Pedroia to get the inning started.
Maier strikes out swinging, and that's Buchholz's fourth whiff of the game. He's at 71 pitches with two outs in the inning.
Buchholz walks Betancourt, and its just the fifth walk of the year for the shortstop. The former Mariner is putting together his best year since 2007 and can be considered league-average at this point. That gives you an idea of how bad he was in recent years.
Buchholz retires Jason Kendall on a slow hopper to Scutaro.
End 4th, 1-0 Red Sox: J.D. Drew pops to second, bringing up Lowell. The now first baseman grounds a single through the hole between short and third.
Jeremy Hermida works things to a 3-1 count before cranking a fly ball. Podsednik made the catch in front of the warning track, but there was some confusion there as the left fielder seemed to be expecting Mitch Maier to come over from center and make the play.
Mike Cameron pops out to short to end the frame. This game is moving at a pretty good clip, by the way. This game has a shot to finish under three hours.
Mid 4th, 1-0 Red Sox: Buchholz can't finish off Mike Aviles with an 0-2 count. Aviles dumps a ball into left and now stands atop first base.
He takes a jog to first as DeJesus has walked. It's the second time DeJesus walked today, and this is coming off a 4-for-6 showing Friday night. Safe to say he's on a hot streak.
Butler scorches a hot grounder to Beltre who is able to turn the 5-4-3 double play. Guillen then grounds one to Lowell and the Royals' mounting threat is extinguished.
End 3rd, 1-0 Red Sox: We've got something brewing here. Scutaro singled on a line to center, and then Betancourt muffed a Pedroia groundball to put two ducks on the pond for David Ortiz.
Unfortunately, Ortiz strikes out on a check-swing after working the count full. V-Mart skies one to right field, and that brings up Beltre with one chance left to get some runners home.
Greinke's finally found the on switch, though, and drops Beltre with a slider for the third out.
Mid 3rd, 1-0 Red Sox: Another quick inning and Buchholz is rolling. He got the frame started by whiffing Yuniesky Betancourt and inducing a groundout from Jason Kendall. Podsednik then rips one to Adrian Beltre's backhand to end the inning.
Buchholz has three strikeouts through three.
End 2nd, 1-0 Red Sox: And Adrian Beltre is now batting .346 after ripping a single. That's good for fourth in the AL behind Justin Morneau, Robinson Cano and Billy Butler.
A patented wall ball by J.D. Drew puts two runners in scoring position and Mike Lowell steps to the plate.
It will be his first at-bat since May 22, when he had a pinch-hit at-bat and worked a walk, then was lifted for a pinch-hitter.
He then made one of the quips of the year when he told Rob Bradford of WEEI that it was great to play for seven seconds.
While Lowell registers an out on a groundball to second, it's a productive one as Beltre trots home with the first tally of the game.
Zack Greinke bounces back by getting Jeremy Hermida to whiff and Mike Cameron to ground to third.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Buchholz has been flashing the changeup today. He just whiffed Jose Guillen on a particularly filthy one.
After a flyout by Alberto Callaspo to Jeremy Hermida, Mitch Maier goes down on three straight strikes. Perhaps Staples make a commercial with Buchholz because that was easy.
End 1st, 0-0: After Marco Scutaro flies out, Dustin Pedroia works a walk from Zack Greinke to bring up Big Papi.
One note about Pedroia, who is batting a scant .259, much to his frustration: His walk rate is just a tick below his career high of 10.4 percent set in 2009. It's at 9.4 percent, which would be the second-best mark of his major league career.
You can generally tell whether things are a fluke by how the player performs in other aspects of the game and whether it diverges from previously established baselines. Pedroia's plate discipline and power haven't tailed off at all, so watch the average slowly rise at some point.
David Ortiz booms a fly to right field that a running DeJesus just barely snags. Victor Martinez ends the frame by grounding to second.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Clay Buchholz starts the game by giving up a leadoff single to Scott Podsednik.
Fortunately for Buchholz, the Red Sox and the fans in attendance, Mike Aviles lashed a tailor-made double play followed by David DeJesus working a walk after falling in a 1-2 hole.
Billy Butler, among the best hitters in the game, steps to the plate. Buchholz throws over to try and catch DeJesus napping at first. The pitcher also kept an eye on Podsednik. We, on the other hand, will be watching how Buchholz approaches runners on base, something that has plagued him in his early career.
Butler raps a hit to Marco Scutaro who fires to Dustin Pedroia to end the top half of the first.
The Red Sox and Royals are playing the third game of a four-game set. With KC taking the first two games, Boston must win today and Sunday to make the series a wash. If the Royals win out, the Red Sox will be risk being swept by the Royals at home in Sunday's 1:35 p.m. start.
5:56 p.m.: Here are your lineups, with Mike Lowell drawing the start in lieu of Kevin Youkilis:
Marco Scutaro, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Victor Martinez, C
Adrian Beltre, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF
Jeremy Hermida, LF
Mike Cameron, CF
Mike Aviles, SS
David DeJesus, RF
Jose Guillen, DH
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Mitch Maier, CF
Jason Kendall, C
4:53 p.m.: In a press release by the Red Sox, the team divulged that its private
weather service, Telvent DTN, forecasts scattered showers in the Fenway
Park area throughout the late afternoon and early evening hours.
The Red Sox still plan to open the gates as scheduled at 5:10 p.m.
and believe the game will begin on time at 7:10 p.m. However, fans
should be alerted as to the possibility of delay.
updates will be provided if the weather forecast changes.
8:22 a.m.: Baseball is a funny game.
After a week of climbing the standings and looking like world beaters, the Red Sox are stumbling again. They have lost the first two games of their four-game set with the Royals and dropped back into fourth place in the AL East.
Attribute the slide to pitching. The team that swept the Rays at Tropicana Field got three solid starts from Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester and John Lackey, but since the Red Sox returned to Fenway Park, neither Daisuke Matsuzaka nor Tim Wakefield have made it past the fifth inning.
Boston is hoping to reverse that trend with Buchholz on the hill in the third game against Kansas City. He is 3-0 with a 1.97 ERA in his last three starts and appears to have made the leap from promising young gun to consistent ace.
His 10th start of the season will be a test – especially with reigning AL Cy Young winner Zack Greinke getting the call for the Royals. If Buchholz can stop the bleeding, the Red Sox can regain some momentum and confidence. If not, they risk falling to .500 at home.
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