Game over: Red Sox 1, Royals 0
Jonathan Papelbon preserves the win for Clay Buchholz with his 12th save by retiring Butler, Guillen and Callaspo in the 9th. Buchholz improves to 7-3 with a 2.73 ERA. The only run came on Mike Lowell”s ground ball out in the second inning off Zack Greinke scoring Adrian Beltre. There were 37,956 on hand in a game that lasted 2:46.
Top 8th: Red Sox 1, Royals 0
Daniel Bard allows a leadoff double by Jason Kendall and gets out of it. Kendall was sacrificed to third with one out and Bard K’d Aviles and then got a sensational backhanded play by Pedroia on a hot shot by the red-hot DeJesus to end the inning. Sweet Caroline time.
Bottom 7th: Red Sox 1, Royals 0
Man, bases loaded one out. Nothing. Beltre knocks into a DP. Sox had two walks in the inning against Robinson Tejeda, who also dropped Billy Butler’s feed on a Martinez grounder to load them up. Beltre then knocked into the DP. Buchholz is indeed out of the game after 7 innings. He allowed four hits and four walks with four strikeouts. He threw 108 pitches, 64 for strikes.
Top 7th: Red Sox 1, Royals 0
Well, that’s 7 very good innings for Buchholz, who has allowed four hits and thrown 109 pitches. Guessing that might be it but we’ll see. Zack Greinke has come out after six full innings allowing one run on five hits, three walks and struck out three. He threw 114 pitches, 66 for strikes. The guy doesn’t get any run support. Robinson Tejeda is in for the Royals in the 7th.
Bottom 6th: Red Sox 1, Royals 0
Status quo here. Royals had a runner (Dejesus, double) at second base with two outs in the sixth and after an intentional walk to Billy Butler, the Royals couldn’t get a run in as Buchholz wiggled out of a jam. Buchholz had induced an infield single by Podsednik on a ball behind the bag at second which Scutaro couldn’t come up with, but Victor Martinez threw him out trying to steal.
Bottom 5th: Red Sox 1, Royals 0
Eight straight balls by Greinke. Bases full. Drew swings at first pitch to end the inning. Drew never swings at anything. Why would he swing at the first pitch after eight straight balls? The Sox loaded them up with two outs. Ortiz slammed a double off rightcenter wall, then a pair of walks to Martinez before Drew’s brain cramp.
Top 4th: Red Sox 1, Royals 0
Terrific double play. Not only did Beltre handle the hot grounder by Billy Butler on one hop, but he got the ball quickly to Pedroia at second for the force. With David DeJesus bearing down on him, he managed to keep his foot on the bag and then leaped to make a perfect throw, off balance, to Lowell at first. Well done. Buchholz had allowed a single to Aviles and a walk to DeJesus to open the fourth, but he stranded Aviles at third when Guillen grounded out to Lowell at first to end the threat.
Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 1, Royals 0
Terrible, terrible missed opportunity for the Red Sox. A single by Scutaro and an error by shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt to open the inning and the Sox let Greinke get out of it. Ortiz struck out. Martinez flied to right and Beltre struck out. Two left on base. Ouch. The Betancourt error can be directly associated with the Fenway infield. The ball hit by Pedroia came through the grass slowly and then picked up speed when it hit the dirt and handcuffed Betancourt.
Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 1, Royals 0
Sox got to Greinke when Beltre singled to right and Drew doubled off the left field wall. Lowell grounded to second scoring a run. All of Lowell’s at-bats are pretty significant since his playing time has been reduced and I’m sure he feels pressure to hit a three-run homer every time he steps to the plate. There are a few teams looking for a righthanded hitter. It may be too early for a team like the Red Sox to even consider a deal because they likely need further proof that Ortiz is going to stay on the right course. But it’s something to look for as we get into mid to late June and beyond. One Texas official has already told me he would love to get Lowell, even after the botched deal this winter which had Max Ramirez coming to Boston until Lowell flunked the physical.
Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Royals 0
Buchholz looks as cool as a cucumber out there. He was very relaxed before the game, kidding around and chasing the young sons of Victor Martinez and David Ortiz around the clubhouse. Effective second inning striking out Jose Guillen and MItch Maier. Nice cutter which he’s throwing at about 92 mph.
Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Royals 0
We’re underway here at Fenway. Nice night after afternoon storms. Yes, that is Demarlo Hale at third base filling in for Tim Bogar who is off to a graduation. Hale is the bench coach, but did a nice job as the team’s third base coach. As I write in my Sunday Baseball Notes column tomorrow, Hale deserves a chance to be the next manager from the Terry Francona tree. Speaking of which, it’s funny that last night Francona had to use Bill Hall to pitch while Houston skipper Brad Mills, Francona’s former bench coach, had to use former Sox catcher Kevin Cash to pitch.
Update: Dustin Pedroia drew a one-out walk against Zack Greinke, but the Sox couldn’t muster much else. Clay Buchholz allowed a leadoff single by Scott Podsednik in the first, but induced a double-play grounder to Mike Aviles.