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Final: Royals 4, Red Sox 3

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  July 28, 2011 01:27 PM

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Game over: Royals 4, Red Sox 3

Reddick grounded out. Sutton then reached on a broken-bat infield single. Crawford pinch hit for Varitek and flied out deep to left, the ball caught on the warning track by Francoeur. The Sox were out of their dugout hoping for a walk-off home run. It just missed.

Navarro had the last chance and struck out.

The Sox finish their homestand 5-2 and now head to Chicago for a three-game road trip. They are 2.5 games up on the Yankees.

The game was played before 37,822 at Fenway Park in 2:51. Hochevar (7-8) was the winner and Beckett (9-4) the loser. Soria has 19 saves.

Middle of the 9th: Royals 4, Red Sox 3

Albers, who has thrown 13.1 consecutive scoreless innings, worked around singles by Getz and Escobar. He also walked Gordon.

The Sox have Reddick, Sutton and Varitek set to face Soria. This is it.

Top of the 9th: Royals 4, Red Sox 3

The crowd stopped singing "Sweet Caroline" when Pedroia walked to the plate to cheer him. One can only imagine how confused the Pink Hats were. He worked the count full and drove a neck-high 3-2 fastball into the Monster Seats.

His streak is at 25 games and Pedroia has 19 extra-base hits and 20 RBIs during it. The Sox did nothing else in the inning, however. Closer Joakin Soria warming up for KC.

Middle of the 8th: Royals 4, Red Sox 2

Morales walked Francoeur but that was it. Hochevar is done after seven strong innings. Greg Holland pitching for Kansas City. Pedroia will lead off with his streak on the line.

Meanwhile, news has come out that former Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu is dead at the age of 42. Reports suggest he may have taken his own life.

Top of the 8th: Royals 4, Red Sox 2

Sutton had a leadoff single. But that was it. Varitek struck out, Navarro flied to left and Ellsbury grounded into a force. Six outs left to do something. Beckett is done as Morales takes the mound.

Middle of the 7th: Royals 4, Red Sox 2

Gets singled, took second on a passed ball and was bunted to third by Escobar. But Beckett struck out Gordon and Maier to keep the deficit at two runs.

Top of the 7th: Royals 4, Red Sox 2

1-2-3 inning for Hochevar, who has retired 11 of the last 12 hitters he has faced and not allowed a hit since the third inning. Great job by the righthander so far.

Middle of the 6th: Royals 4, Red Sox 2

Beckett walked Moustakas with two outs then struck out Treanor. He has retired eight of the last nine batters he has faced. Sox have Youk, Papi and Reddick coming up.

Top of the 6th: Royals 4, Red Sox 2

Hochevar walked Pedroia with two outs. That extended his steak of reaching base safely to 37 games. Pedroia then stole second but was stranded as Gonzalez grounded out.

Middle of the 5th: Royals 4, Red Sox 2

1-2-3 inning for Beckett, who was aided by Youkilis making a nice play on a hot shot by Butler. Beckett has thrown 80 pitches so far.

Top of the 5th: Royals 4, Red Sox 2

1-2-3 inning for Hochevar.

Middle of the 4th: Royals 4, Red Sox 2

So much for Beckett cruising along. He walked Gordon and Maier after getting ahead of both of them. Butler then clobbered a fastball into the blacked-out seats in center.

With one out, Francoeur lined to left. Drew Sutton had the ball in is glove and dropped it. It was ruled a double by the official scorer. Moustakas followed with an RBI double to right. Treanor then singled before Beckett got the final two outs, leaving two runners stranded.

Top of the 4th: Red Sox 2, Royals 0

Hey, run support for Josh Beckett. What a concept. Varitek singled and went to third on a double by Navarro (who, by the way, has a lot of physical ability). Ellsbury dropped a two-run single into right field to extend his hitting streak to 10 games.

Pedroia popped up but Gonzalez singled to right, sending Ellsbury to third. Francoeur's strong throw hit him, otherwise he was out. The Sox had two chances with runners on first and third and the right guys up. But Hochever struck out Youkilis and Ortiz.

Middle of the 3rd: Royals 0, Red Sox 0

Beckett is being Beckett. He struck out Treanor looking, got Getz on a grounder back to the mound and Escobar swinging at a curveball.

Josh's last 18 innings: 9 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 17 strikeouts. Doesn't get much better than that. At the moment, his ERA is 2.02.

Top of the 3rd: Royals 0, Red Sox 0

Quick inning for Hochevar. Ortiz grounded to first, Reddick flied to enter and Sutton grounded to second.

Middle of the 2nd: Royals 0, Red Sox 0

Hosmer (8 of 16 in this series) singled. What a sweet swing that kid has. Then Francoeur grounded into a double play (Navarro was sort of near the bag) and Moustakas struck out swinging at a curveball in the dirt.

When you hear a pitcher talking about "burying" a pitch, that's what they mean. Beckett was 2-and-2 and threw a pitch that Moustakas had no chance of hitting well.

Top of the 2nd: Royals 0, Red Sox 0

Ellsbury and Pedroia grounded to second. Gonzo singled to right before Youkilis flied out to center.

Middle of the 1st: Royals 0, Red Sox 0

Beckett retired the side in order. The Royals have a solid offense, don't they? They're seventh in the AL in OPS at .722, above the league average of .720. As players like Hosmer (21), Moustakas (22), Butler (25) and Escobar (24) get older and their other prospects develop the Royal will be dangerous. They really need pitching, however.

Pedroia up second as he looks to continue his streak.

Pre-game: Good afternoon from sun-splashed Fenway Park. It'll be Josh Beckett against Luke Hochevar as the Sox finish up their homestand with a game against the Royals.

If you're at work or can't catch the game on NESN, hang out here and we'll have updates and hopefully a little insight.

Of course, we welcome your comments.

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