With the loss, the Red Sox have now dropped seven of their last eight games, dropping them six games below .500.
In this outing, the team's offense didn't really get it going against Bruce Chen –– with the exception of the third inning — and the lefty tossed a quality outing. With two runners in scoring position in the ninth, the offense failed to convert.
Lester, meanwhile, allowed at least three runs for the fifth time this season.
10:53 p.m.: Another discrepancy with the calls. Marlon Byrd intended to bunt, but looked to get plunked during the attempt.
The call didn't go the Red Sox' way and Byrd had to continue his at-bat.
End 8th, Royals 4-3: That was a 7-6-2 put out that nailed Irving Falu at the plate right there.
Mike Aviles tossed a pinpoint ball to Saltalamacchia in that sequence, showing he has the defensive aptitude as a shortstop. Now, the pressure shifts the offense.
Mid 8th, Royals 4-3: You have to wonder what happened to the Red Sox' offense — you know, the one that was rolling in Minnesota and Chicago.
David Ortiz, Adrian Gonzalez and Will Middlebrooks all fell prey to Aaron Crow's work in that one.
End 7th, Royals 4-3: After Alex Gordon doubled, it required a mound visit from pitching coach Bob McClure.
Whatever he said, clearly worked for Clayton Mortensen. The hurler's arsenal forced Billy Butler and Jeff Francouer to ground out to end the inning.
Scott Atchison is warming up in the bullpen, so his presence could be looming very, very soon.
Mid 7th, Royals 4-3: Aaron Crow is came in for Bruce Chen, but Chen has been straight dealing.
He only endured one hiccup and that was in the third inning, when he loaded up the bases before Adrian Gonzalez' double.
At this moment, he's poised to claim his first victory of the season.
End 6th, Royals 4-3: Need some efficiency? Well, Clayton Mortensen was your guy in that inning.
It took just three pitches for him to emerge from that sixth inning unscathed. He tossed all fastballs there, but he is known as a sinkerball pitcher.
Mid 6th, Royals 4-3: Bruce Chen only needed 14 pitches in that one after a seven-pitch inning in the fifth.
Sounds like an indictment on the Red Sox' offense right now. With all the talent in that lineup, they shouldn't be allowing Chen to stifle them that badly.
Clayton Mortensen is now in for Jon Lester, who exits after throwing five innings and 108 pitches.
End 5th, Royals 4-3: That's 108 pitches for Jon Lester. I would be very surprised if Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine allowed the lefty to come out for more.
Jon Lester leads actives with a 1.30 ERA (7 ER/48.1 IP) against Kansas City with a minimum 40 inning pitched. Beginning with a no-hitter on May 19, 2008 at Fenway, Lester has allowed one run or less in each of his last five starts against Kansas City, tied for the longest such streak ever against the Royals franchise.
Mid 5th, Royals 4-3: Dustin Pedroia appeared to launch a shot to left field, but Alex Gordon robbed him with a very nice catch.
With all the Will Middlebrooks talk about him going to the outfield, t's ironic — in a way –considering Gordon is a former third baseman turned outfielder.
The transition works out well for some guys. But I highly doubt the Red Sox would do that with Middlebrooks, a prized prospect.
End 4th, Royals 4-3: Clayton Mortensen is warming up in the Red Sox' bullpen.
After that frame, Jon Lester has thrown 92 pitches, signaling a likely end after the fifth inning — if he can make it that far.
Lester has been plagued by some efficiency problems this season and it looks like another long relief outing may be needed.
9:37 p.m.: Alcides Escobar hit an RBI double, giving the Royals a one-run lead.
Mid 4th, 3-3: The inning started out promising, when Jarrod Saltalamacchia legged out a double. That's the fastest I've seen him run in awhile.
But Ryan Sweeney struck out swinging and Mike Aviles ended up grounding out. Sweeney was visibly upset after that strikeout and that could be the reason why Valentine doesn't line starting him against lefties.
End 3rd, 3-3: That 38-pitch inning to start the game certainly hurt Jon Lester. But he's rebounded in strong fashion, making quick work of the Royals lineup.
This is key stretch for him, considering the Red Sox are leaning on him to change their fortunes heading back to Fenway.
Mid 3rd, 3-3: With one swing, Adrian Gonzalez tied this game up and gave Jon Lester some run support.
Gonzalez' bases-clearing double shows his ability to slowly climb out of a slump.
Dustin Pedroia almost found himself with a play at the plate, but he dodged catcher Brayan Pena just in time to slap home plate.
End 2nd, Royals 3-0: It looked like a collision was approaching when Will Middlebrooks and Mike Aviles were chasing down the same fly ball in foul territory.
But Aviles made a nice catch in front of the wall with his momentum carrying him. I noticed that he was continuing to catch up with a lot of former teammates on the Royals before the game. He had good times with some of those guys.
Mid 2nd, Royals 3-0: Bruce Chen was looking sharp there, striking out Will Middlebrooks and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
He's bounced around a lot in this league and has had an inconsistent journey throughout the majors.
End 1st, Royals 3-0: At first glance, I thought it was a catch by Cody Ross. After watching the replay in the press box, I still believe so.
I'm interested to see what the umpires told Valentine and the skipper will undoubtedly tell us after the game. But all of those runs are unearned.
8:35 p.m.: That was a pretty controversial call right there. Cody Ross snagged the ball, but upon heading to the ball, he bobbled it off the wall and then caught it again.
Bobby Valentine is out here trying argue the call and the umpires are discussing it. It seems like it will stand, meaning Pena gets a two-run double.
8:29 p.m.: Jon Lester has allowed an RBI single to Johnny Giavotella, who entered the game with no average or hits.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Mike Aviles singled, but that was about the only bit of action the Red Sox got off of pitcher Bruce Chen.
Also, entering this game, the Red Sox and Royals have split all-time series victories at 216 apiece.
So whichever teams wins this one will get the upper leg. It's a quirky stat, but actually funny that the Royals have kept up with the Sox in this fashion.
7:05 p.m.: Here are the lineups.
Mike Aviles, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Cody Ross, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Marlon Byrd, CF
Ryan Sweeney, RF
Jon Lester, P
Jarrod Dyson, CF
Alex Gordon, LF
Billy Butler, 1B
Jeff Francouer, RF
Johnny Giavotella, DH
Bryan Pena, C
Irving Falu, 3B
Chris Getz, 2B
Alcides Escobar, SS
Bruce Chen, P
8 a.m. ET: The Red Sox (12-17), in danger of dropping their third straight series, are looking to snap the streak against the Royals (10-19). Boston will have Jon Lester on the mound as he attempts to reverse the team's fortunes.
In his last appearance, against the Orioles, Lester allowed three runs over six innings. Heading into Wednesday's game, Lester has a 1-2 record with a 4.62 ERA. The lefty will take on Royals pitcher Bruce Chen, who is 0-4 with a 4.98 ERA. In 16 career games against Boston, Chen has a 5.98 ERA.
For more details and analysis from Kauffman Stadium, follow NESN.com's live blog. Tune into NESN's pregame show at 7 p.m. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10.
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