It was one of the best pitching matchups of the young season: Boston's Josh Beckett against Kansas City's Zack Greinke. And it lived up to the hype.
Kansas City took the early lead on a first inning double by Alberto Callaspo, who scored on a single by Rick Ankiel following a four pitch walk by Billy Butler. From then on, both pitchers settled in, with no batter from either team reaching until J.D. Drew's single with two outs in the top of the fourth inning (and this did not result in any runs, as Mike Lowell then grounded out to Greinke to end the inning).
Beckett opened the bottom of the fourth by getting Butler to ground out to Lowell at third on a tricky hop, but Ankiel then doubled to right. However, Jose Guillen then flew out to Jacoby Ellsbury in center and Jason Kendall grounded out to third to end the inning.
Greinke began to run into some problems in the top of the fifth, hanging a curveball to Jeremy Hermida (making his Red Sox debut), who homered into the Royals bullpen in right and tied the game at one. Greinke then went right back to the same pitch to the next batter, Jason Varitek (making his first start of the season for Boston), hung it in exactly the same location, and Varitek hit it out to the same spot in the Royals bullpen as Hermida to make it 2-1 Boston. Marco Scutaro singled to center and stole second with Ellsbury batting. Ellsbury then grounded out to second, advancing Scutaro to third. Dustin Pedroia was then hit by a pitch on the back of his hamstring, putting runners at first and third with one out, but Victor Martinez grounded into a double play to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Yuniesky Betancourt led off with a single against Beckett, but Beckett got the next batter, Chris Getz, to ground into a 6-3 double play, and David DeJesus to ground out to first to end the inning.
Greinke got the first batter of the top of the 6th, Kevin Youkilis, to ground out to Betancourt at short, and struck out Drew. Mike Lowell then singled, but Greinke came back to strike out Hermida.
Scott Podsednik doubled to lead off the bottom of the 6th, but Beckett got Callaspo to pop out to Lowell in foul territory, struck out Butler looking, and got the red-hot Rick Ankiel to pop out to end the threat.
That turned out to be big, as the Red Sox struck again in the 7th. Varitek flew out to start the inning. Greinke then hit Scutaro with a pitch, and Ellsbury doubled to center to score Scutaro and make it 3-1 Boston, advancing to third on the throw to the plate. Pedroia then flew out to center, and Ellsbury scored to make it 4-1 and end the night for Greinke. Dusty Hughes came on for the Royals and got Martinez to ground out.
The Royals would answer in the bottom of the 7th, however, as Guillen doubled to lead off the inning. Kendall singled to right, putting runners at first and third with no one out. Betancourt then grounded into a double play, scoring Guillen to make it 4-2 Boston. Chris Getz then singled to center after a very long at bat, and stole second several pitches later while DeJesus was batting. DeJesus singled up the middle on a hit that appeared to deflect off the back of Beckett's hat or head, and Getz scored to make it 4-3, but Beckett got Podsednik to ground out to second to get out of it.
That last out would again turn out to be big. Hughes returned to the mound for Kansas City to start the 8th, and Youkilis promptly hit one out to center on his second pitch of the inning to make it 5-3. Hughes then struck out Drew on a full count pitch that appeared to be a little outside, and Lowell grounded out to third. Mike Cameron then came on to hit for Hermida, and the Royals brought on Luis Mendoza to face him, and got him to pop out.
The Red Sox made several changes to start the bottom of the inning. Cameron remained in the game as the center fielder to start the 8th, with Ellsbury moving over to left. Adrian Beltre also came on to replace Lowell at 3rd. Finally, Hideki Okajima came on out of the bullpen to replace Beckett. Okajima got Callaspo to foul out to Youkilis at first, Butler to fly out to Ellsbury in left, and Ankiel to foul out to Youkilis for a perfect inning.
Mendoza remained on the mound for the Royals to start the 9th, and, for the second inning in a row, the Royals pitcher who started the inning was greeted by the batter by a home run on the second pitch of the inning. This time it was Jason Varitek with his second of the night, hitting another one out to right, this time into the stands over the Royals bullpen, making it 6-3. Scutaro then flew out to right, and Ellsbury singled to left, bringing up Pedroia with one out, and he hit one into the Red Sox bullpen to make it 8-3 and prompting the Royals to again change pitchers, as Roman Colon came in. Colon got Martinez to ground out sharply to first and Youkilis to ground out sharply to third.
Former Royals reliever Ramon Ramirez then entered for the Red Sox to try and close it out, and he did just that, getting Guillen, Kendall, and pinch-hitter Mike Aviles to fly out to center.
Red Sox, Beckett Win Duel with Greinke, Royals
Posted on: April 11, 2010 6:27 pm
Tags: Adrian Beltre, AL Central, AL East, Alberto Callaspo, Billy Butler, Boston Red Sox, Chris Getz, David DeJesus, Dustin Pedroia, Dusty Hughes, Hideki Okajima, J.D. Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Kendall, Jason Varitek, Jeremy Hermida, Jose Guillen, Josh Beckett, Kansas City Royals, Kevin Youkilis, Luis Mendoza, Marco Scutaro, Mike Aviles, Mike Cameron, Mike Lowell, MLB, Ramon Ramirez, Rick Ankiel, Roman Colon, Scott Podsednik, Victor Martinez, Yuniesky Betancourt, Zack Greinke