BOSTON — Monday night at Fenway Park was a frustrating one for the Red Sox. There was rain, a lack of scoring, a mammoth missed sign and 14 innings that led to nothing more than a loss to a last-place team in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.
If there's an offense in baseball that knows how to take out its frustrations, it's Boston's. And boy did it find a release Tuesday night against the Kansas City Royals, who were treated like a punching bag by a shuffled lineup that came in waves.
In reaching double figures in scoring for the 15th time in their last 58 games, the Red Sox pounded out 16 hits, half of them for extra bases, in a wild 13-9 win that saw a little bit of everything.
Most of it was Boston bats hammering Kansas City pitching, which had to resort to using outfielder Mitch Maier in the eighth — Maier actually posted one of the three zeroes that the Royals recorded all night.
"When we get it going, it's hard to stop," said designated hitter David Ortiz, part of a 3-4-5 wrecking crew in the middle of the order.
Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia — filling in for the injured Kevin Youkilis in the cleanup spot — and Ortiz combined to go 10-for-13 with eight RBIs and six runs scored.
Gonzalez upped his major league-leading RBI total to 84 by knocking in a pair. Pedroia's first-inning triple extended his career-high hitting streak to 23 games. Ortiz had five RBIs for the first time in nearly three years, his four hits matched a career high and his three doubles set a new one.
Statistical superlatives like that are so plentiful with this lineup. On a night when Boston's starter, Andrew Miller, struggled, those gaudy numbers were also necessary.
"Our offense did a great job, and we needed to." said manager Terry Francona. "We got behind early. That's a hard way to win."
Kansas City actually held three separate leads early on, taking a 2-0 lead in the first, a 4-2 lead in the second and a 7-5 lead in the fourth, the inning which saw Miller replaced by Alfredo Aceves.
It was 7-6 when the bottom of the fifth rolled around. That's when the Boston attack became too much for the soft underbelly of a pretty solid Royals bullpen.
Josh Reddick singled to start the inning and Jacoby Ellsbury, pinch hitting for Yamaico Navarro, followed with one of his own. Drew Sutton then dropped down a sacrifice bunt that Kansas City reliever Nathan Adcock threw up the right-field line. The tying and go-ahead runs came in, putting Boston ahead to stay and opening the floodgates.
The next five men reached, including the Gonzalez-Pedroia-Ortiz triumvirate on consecutive singles, and Reddick ended the scoring with a long sacrifice fly to center. It was 12-7 and the memories of the one-run effort the night before were washed away.
"That was a lot different than last night," Pedroia said before expressing hope that the team could spread things out a bit. "We've all got to keep it going. That's what good offenses do. We've got to be consistent."
If one truly wants to nitpick, that inconsistency is a possible target. Boston's run totals in the last four games are three, 12, one and 13. It also had a trio of games last week in which it scored one, 15 and then two runs on consecutive nights.
Additionally, there was that stretch in June in which the Red Sox scored 30 runs in two games at Toronto before being shut out in Tampa Bay. A week later, they scored 10 runs, two runs and 12 runs in a three-game series against Milwaukee.
So much of that comes down to matchups. But what it suggests as much as anything is an extreme relentlessness on the part of the offense. When it gets its opportunities, when it smells blood, when it knows an opposing pitcher is on the ropes, it does not let up.
"Things started off slow [for the offense this year], but it kind of developed into that," said catcher Jason Varitek, who capped the scoring for the hosts with a solo shot in the seventh. "I still think we haven't clicked on all cylinders, but we've had enough."
On many nights, like Tuesday, they've had more than enough. Because of that, the frustration never seems to linger very long.