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Making the move from center to left, the speedy Jacoby Ellsbury gives the Red Sox a tremendous amount of range in away ballparks (left field in Fenway isn’t very big) — certainly a lot more than Jason Bay ever did. The one issue Ellsbury seems to have this season is his decision-making, a problem that has plagued him at times in the past. In the first inning on Sunday, Ellsbury failed to call off shortstop Bill Hall on a catchable ball, leading to an error and eventually a run for the Royals.
Later on in the ninth, Ellsbury failed to call off Adrian Beltre on a tough play in foul territory, and paid the price when the two collided. Beltre’s knee appeared to slam into Ellsbury’s chest, and the left fielder was forced to the leave the game. Details of his injury are not known, but it didn’t look pretty. After the game, Terry Francona said Ellsbury was getting X-rays on the left side of his rib cage and was “in pain.”
As for the game, the Red Sox used 12 hits and eight runs in support of Clay Buchholz, who lasted 5.0 innings and allowed three runs (two earned) to earn his first win of the year. The bullpen coughed up three more runs on the afternoon, but the Sox held on to beat K.C. 8-6.
Dustin Pedroia picked up four more hits to lead the way for the Sox, including a rocket-shot off his bat in the fourth inning off Royals starter Gil Meche, who was activated off the disabled list before the game. Meche struggled to record outs, finishing with seven runs allowed over just 3.1 innings pitched.
Adrian Beltre went 3-5 with a double and three RBI (all came with two outs), and Victor Martinez and Ellsbury each pitched in two hits to power the Sox offense.
Trailing 8-3 in the eighth, the Royals made it a game when DH Jose Guillen blasted a three-run home run off Ramon Ramirez, who failed to record an out and currently carries a disgusting 33.75 ERA. Guillen finished 2-4 with two home runs.
Pedroia’s 4-5 effort carried the Sox bats on Sunday. His home run in the fourth inning came on an inside fastball up near his shoulders, and he somehow pulled his hands in and turned on it for the round-tripper. Pedroia is rarely beat on inside fastballs, so why do pitchers continue to pound that part of the zone?
We know how poorly Ramirez played (0.0 IP, 3 ER, 1 HR), but David Ortiz comes close to taking the cake. After a key walk in the first inning (he scored a run, too), Ortiz collected a golden sombrero with four strikeouts. He’s currently hitting .111 through six games this season. Last year through six games, Ortiz was hitting .200.
W: Clay Buchholz (1-0)
L: Gil Meche (0-1)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (2)