Red Sox - 200 000 001 - 3 9 0A strange ninth-inning rally falls short as Sean Casey flies out to right field with the bases loaded.
Royals - 013 000 00x - 4 8 0
Boston failed to get a run home in the eighth, when it had runners on first and third with two outs. Ron Mahay came in to face Jason Varitek -- and struck him out, though he needed nine pitches to do it.
In the ninth, the Red Sox faced Joakim Soria, who had allowed only 25 hits and 10 walks in 50.2 innings (1.42 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, 309 ERA+). Coco Crisp had struck out swinging in his three previous plate appearances (all against Meche), but he lined a single to center off Soria. Drew looked himself into a full count before being called out by the third base umpire on a check swing.
Dustin Pedroia's pop-up fell untouched in short left field; it was his third hit of the night and his fourth time on base. David Ortiz's grounder to first moved the runners to second and third and Jacoby Ellsbury came in to run for FY. With two outs, Kevin Youkilis was walked intentionally to load the bases for Jason Bay (who was 0-for-4).
On a 1-1 count, Bay hit a slow grounder between Alex Gordon at third and Tony Pena at shortstop. Gordon backed up to avoid Ellsbury, who was running to third, and the two infielders reached the ball at the same time. Gordon got it in his glove, but they collided and no play was made.
Crisp scored on the infield single to cut the Royals' lead to one run. Casey looked at two strikes before banging a fly ball to right. Mark Teahen, who had seen Pedroia's fly ball sail over his head for a double back in the first inning, jogged to his left and gloved it for the final out.
The Sox started strong in the first: J.D. Drew took a seven-pitch walk and Pedroia doubled to right. Drew scored on Ortiz's groundout and Pedroia crossed when Youkilis also doubled to right.
Gordon homered off Buchholz in the second inning and KC struck for three more runs in the third on three singles, two walks, a sac fly, and a bases-loaded HBP.
Cleveland beat Tampa Bay 5-2, so we stay 3 GB. Down in Arlington, Marlon Byrd cranked Damaso Marte's first-pitch fastball for a grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to give Texas a 9-5 win over New York.
Clay Buchholz (5.94, 75 ERA+) / Gil Meche (4.22, 104 ERA+)
Nice work, Tito!
Drew is the only regular with an OBP over .400 (.406). He leads the team with a 146 OPS+ (Yook is at close second at 142). Drew hit only .221 in July, but still managed a .361 OBP and a .442 SLG.Drew, RF
David Ortiz is 9-for-20 against Meche, with four home runs and a 1.576 OPS. ... Buchholz has never faced anyone on the Royals roster. ... Mike Lowell, who may get a cortisone shot today for his right hip injury, will likely get the night off.
Jason Bay's weekend could not have been better:
I feel like I've been here three weeks, not just three days. Now it will be a little bit of normalcy, if you will. I've read that Red Sox Nation travels well. But on the road, you're a bit more tighter-knit and you get to know the guys - and I'm looking forward to it.Jed Lowrie has started 11 of the 13 games since Julio Lugo (who is now doing some light jogging) went on the disabled list with a strained left quadriceps. Lowrie has hit safely in nine of the 11 games for a .317 average (13-for-41); he went 5-for-10 in the three games against Oakland.
The Red Sox swept four games from Kansas City at Fenway in mid-May (7-0, 2-1, 6-3, and 11-8) -- part of a season-high seven-game winning streak.
Also: Spiders/Rays at 7 PM and Rangers/Yankees at 8 PM