Red Sox

Royals Outlast Red Sox 3-1 In Lester’s Return

By Jimmy Golen, AP Sports Writer
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BOSTON, MA - JULY 26: Joakim Soria #48 of the Kansas City Royals and Brayan Pena #27 celebrate the win over the Boston Red Sox on July 26, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The Kansas City Royals defeated the Boston Red Sox 3-1 in 14 innings. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA – JULY 26: Joakim Soria #48 of the Kansas City Royals and Brayan Pena #27 celebrate the win over the Boston Red Sox on July 26, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The Kansas City Royals defeated the Boston Red Sox 3-1 in 14 innings. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Red Sox botched a suicide squeeze in extra innings and gave Kansas City another chance to win. The Royals messed up their squeeze attempt, too, and still managed to score the game-winning run.

Eric Hosmer doubled to lead off the 14th inning and scored when Mike Aviles bunted the ball over the head of charging first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, giving Kansas City a 3-1 victory over Boston on Monday night. The play was supposed to be a safety squeeze but Hosmer and Jeff Francoeur, who was on first, mistakenly ran on the pitch.

“I wasn’t supposed to be running. Hosmer wasn’t supposed to break. We all kind of messed up, but it worked out,” Francoeur said. “It could have been a triple play.”

Louis Coleman (1-2) went two innings and twice pitched out of jams for the win. Joakim Soria struck out three in the bottom of the 14th to earn his 18th save and send Boston to just its fourth loss in 21 games.

The Red Sox threatened to score five times in the last six innings, but the Royals made their best chance count. Hosmer doubled off Randy Williams (0-1) to start the 14th, but he was held at third when Francoeur singled.

Aviles came to the plate and squared to bunt as the runners took off and the corner infielders charged in. He popped it up but it landed safely behind Gonzalez and out of the reach of second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who was moving over to cover first.

Hosmer scored, and Francoeur came home on a sacrifice fly by Alcides Escobar to make it 3-1.

“We caught a break,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “If Frenchie (Francoeur) doesn’t break — and he wasn’t supposed to — Gonzalez doesn’t break. We finally got to run the play we don’t have much time to practice — we bunt over the first baseman’s head with runners running.”

The Red Sox kept it interesting when Josh Reddick doubled — his third hit of the game — with one out in the bottom of the 14th. But Soria struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia and then Marco Scutaro to end it — thanks in part to a pregame rain delay of 2 hours, 21 minutes — at 1:59 a.m. Tuesday.

Melky Cabrera had four hits and Hosmer had three for the Royals, who won for the fifth time in six games. It was their 10th extra-inning victory — most in the AL, according to STATS Inc. The Red Sox had their chances.

Reddick singled to lead off the 12th and then, with one out, took two bases on an errant pickoff throw. But he was hung up between third and home after Scutaro never squared around to bunt on the suicide squeeze that had been called.

“I just didn’t see the sign,” Scutaro said. “My fault. I didn’t see the sign.”

Scutaro then lined a hit to left and was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. In the 13th, Jacoby Ellsbury drew a leadoff walk and, one out later, Gonzalez hit a sinking liner that bounced under Francoeur’s glove as he came in for it; only his leg kept it from going off the wall. Ellsbury wound up at third, and Gonzalez at first.

Again, Coleman pitched out of it. The fifth of six Kansas City pitchers, he went two innings and allowed three hits and a walk.

“I would say right about now they’re probably kicking themselves because they missed a lot of chances,” Francoeur said.

Jon Lester made his first start since July 5, when he left a no-hitter after four innings with a strained muscle in his back, and pitched 5 1-3 strong innings. He shut out the Royals until Cabrera led off the sixth with a single and scored to make it 1-1 when Billy Butler’s double rattled around in the left-field corner.

Notes: Kevin Youkilis pulled up limping after trying to stretch out an infield single in the sixth inning, and left the game with tightness in his right hamstring. … Dustin Pedroia singled in the third inning to extend his hitting streak to 22 games. It’s the longest for a Red Sox 2B since Denny Doyle hit in 22 straight in 1975. Pedroia has reached base safely in 34 straight games. … Heading into the game, Lester had received an average of 7.32 runs per game in support, the most in the majors among qualifying pitchers. … Reddick made a diving catch of Escobar’s liner in the top of the 10th to preserve the tie. … Starter John Lackey went out to the bullpen before the 14th inning but did not warm up. … Josh Bard pitched a scoreless eighth inning. He has not allowed an earned run in 25 innings over 24 games. … Kyle Davies lasted six innings for the Royals, allowing one run on five hits and a walk while striking out six.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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