KANSAS CITY — It's easy to say the Red Sox should have taken three of four in Kansas City against the last place Royals. That's what good teams are supposed to do against bad teams.
Only the Royals aren't all that bad now that they've built a lineup with some exciting young hitters. They also have a decent bullpen. The rotation is a bit of a mess, but this still a team that entering today was 6-7 against the Sox and Yankees.
“I don’t care who you are,” Darnell McDonald said, “you lose three All-Stars and that’s a big deal.”
So you'll pardon the Sox for being pretty pleased with today's 6-1 victory. Taking three out of four was a good accomplishment for this team, especially with four games at Texas coming up.
“I think it’s huge, especially considering who we’re about to play,” Daniel Bard said. “Taking three out of four here maybe lets us take a little bit of a deep breath. Not that we’re going to play less hard in Texas, but the pressure’s not there. If we had gone 1-3 here or even 2-2, it would feel like we had some ground to make up. Now we can just go in and play our game.”
The Sox had plenty of contributors today. Jon Lester had a one-hit shutout going into the seventh inning before Bard did his Harry Houdini act, coming into the game with a run in, two on and no outs and escaping without further damage.
McDonald and Carl Crawford homered. Ryan Lavarnway had two hits and an RBI. Jed Lowrie also drove in a run. McDonald, Lavarnway and Lowrie were in the lineup because Ellsbury, Ortiz and Youkilis weren't.
D-Mac was 4 for 8 with two RBIs the last two days in center.
The most fun of the day came in the fifth inning when Jason Varitek drove a ball into the gap in right to score Lowrie from second.
As the catcher chugged into second base, he turned his head to see where the ball was. Then he kept going.
By the time the Royals relayed the ball to third base, Varitek had his first triple since June 24, 2007.
“Just spacing them out,” he said with a big smile.
Then came a few more jokes.
“Not so good,” he said when asked how he felt. “[But] it’s much easier for me to score from third than it is from second.”
At 39, Varitek was the oldest catcher to record a triple since Benito Santiago had one with the Pirates on April 4, 2005.
“Oh, yeah?” Varitek said. “I like that.”
As to other stuff:
• Terry Francona didn't come right out and say it, but he gave every indication that Ellsbury would not play tomorrow. The Sox are playing this one very carefully.
• Josh Reddick's road to the Hall of Fame has hit a new bumps. He is hitting .226 in August with four RBIs. The Game 1 playoff starter in right field could be just about anybody at this point. The candidates include Reddick, J.D. Drew, McDonald, Ryan Kalish and the ever popular Mystery Guest Off The Waiver Wire.
• Adrian Gonzalez didn't hit a home run again. He has to hit one in Texas, right?
• For those of you interested in music, songs played in the clubhouse after the game included "Raining Main" by Rihanna and Nicki Minaj, "I Get It On" by Omarion and "Bottoms Up" by Trey Songz and Nicki Minaj.
OK, that's it from Kauffman Stadium, which is a wonderful place to see a game.
Catch you from Texas tomorrow. Thanks to everybody for reading all weekend. It's much appreciated.