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With several stars of the Boston lineup battered and bruised, it took a complete team effort to bounce back against the Royals on Sunday.
The Red Sox’ patchwork lineup was able to do just that, cracking 10 hits and 2 home runs in a 6-1 victory over Kansas City. The win moved ace Jon Lester to 13-6 on the season, which leads the team in wins. He gave up just 3 hits and 1 run over 6 innings. Royals’ starter Danny Duffy pitched well, but suffered the loss.
The starting nine for the sweltering afternoon affair saw Darnell McDonald batting second, but he made the best of his opportunity. The struggling McDonald cracked 3 hits and a long home run from the top of the lineup. His arduous pursuit to squeak above the Mendoza line continues, as he currently sits at .194.
For the better part of Sunday, Lester wasn’t getting much help from the umpire. The lefty was squeezed by Jim Reynolds in a few key situations, but still danced out of trouble for the most part. Lester’s toughest setback came on a Jed Lowrie error that would have ended the third inning. The miscue added 12 pitches to Lester’s count and shortened his outing a bit.
It’s become a broken record when discussing the Red Sox this season, but this Daniel Bard guy has been pretty nasty, huh? Handed a 2 out, 1 on jam in the 7th, Bard maneuvered through a flawless shutdown of the next six batters. By the time he hit the showers, the game was out of reach and the Royals were deflated.
One thing I find the most impressive for a pitcher is when he can face down a guy who has a sure bunt on, and still punch him out. Bard did just that as he absolutely overmatched Alcides Escobar. First he knocked the guy to the ground to start the at-bat, then he toyed with him the rest of the way. Bard actually struck out Escobar twice, but the first strikeout (on the nastiest of sliders) was called a ball by “Sultan of the squeeze” Reynolds.
The ‘C’ on Jason Varitek’s chest does not stand for celerity. In fact, Boston’s beloved backstop hasn’t legged out a triple since 2007. His last three-bagger came on June 24 of that year in a win over the Padres. Varitek actually set a career high in 2007 with 3 triples, and the burly captain has 14 now in his career.
You have to think that Terry Francona is hoping beyond hope that he will get some of his offensive firepower back for the road ahead. Jacoby Ellsbury sat out a second straight game to nurse the contusion on his back after getting hit on Friday. He could be back Monday, with David Ortiz returning a few days after that. Boston will need all the hitting it can muster against Texas. The Rangers could be a potential playoff opponent of the Red Sox, and the last trip to Arlington saw Boston get swept away.