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For Lester, perhaps some positive signs

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  August 9, 2013 12:12 AM

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Don’t shake your head and wonder how the Red Sox lost 5-1 to the Royals.

Kansas City has won 14 of its last 16 games to crawl back into the wild card race and has the lowest earned run average in the league.

Lefty Bruce Chen, who bamboozled the Sox with an array of pitches, arm angles and speeds, has been at the center of the resurgence. After pitching effectively out of the bullpen all season, the 35-year-old was put in the rotation on July 12. He has a 1.14 ERA since and Kansas City has won four of his five starts.

It was an ugly first inning for Jon Lester and the Red Sox Thursday night. The lefty threw 41 pitches, allowed three runs and there was an error by Jonny Gomes in left field that reminded you why Oakland liked him as a DH.

Here's one positive to take out of the night: Lester may actually be getting close to being himself again.

He has a 3.48 ERA in his last five starts. Over 31 innings Lester has walked seven and struck out 30. After that bad first inning, Lester recovered and shut down the Royals over the six innings that followed on 80 pitches. He gave up only two other hits.

“I need to win more of those games, but I feel like I’m getting close,” Lester said. “There are good signs if you try to look at the glass as being half full. It’s getting there.”

He'll face Toronto next week.

Meanwhile:

• Maybe Rubby De La Rosa (two solo home runs in the eighth inning) isn't quite ready for prime time after all.

• Mike Napoli was 1 for 4 hitting sixth and struck out two more times.

• The Sox are 1-3 against KC.

• The Sox are 46-9 when they score first, 24-38 when they don't.

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