KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Even with plenty of offense from David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, the Boston Red Sox are struggling these days.
Luke Hudson won his fifth straight decision and Emil Brown had three RBI as the Kansas City Royals overcame Ortiz's major league-leading 41st homer to beat the Red Sox 6-4 Tuesday night.
"It is sad to see our offense doing very well to try to help the team win, but unfortunately we couldn't stop them from scoring," new Red Sox catcher Javy Lopez said. "I feel pretty bad about it because I feel pretty much responsible calling the game behind the plate. Not to be able to stop them from scoring, it is kind of frustrating."
Red Sox rookie Jon Lester (5-2), who held the Royals to one hit in eight scoreless innings on July 18, allowed four runs, six hits, three walks and a hit batter.
"He was trying to be too fine," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He needs to trust his stuff and pound the zone, cause he has a way of wriggling out more often than he doesn't. He fell behind a lot of hitters and had a high pitch count after five innings."
Lester threw 105 pitches, only 52 for strikes, in five innings as the Red Sox lost their third straight and dropped to 6-10 since July 22. Boston remained a season-high two games back of the AL East-leading New York Yankees.
"It was not just one pitch," Lester said. "I didn't have control of any of my pitches. I didn't have anything tonight. Any time you don't go six, seven, eight innings, it's frustrating."
Ortiz hit a solo homer in the seventh off Jimmy Gobble for his 1,000th career hit. He has 27 road home runs, matching the Red Sox record he set last year.
"We have to win to get to the playoffs, and we're not playing against a first-place team," Ortiz said. "We've got to try to play better. There is a reason why they are in last place."
Boston threatened in the ninth against Ambiorix Burgos, who leads in the major leagues with 10 blown saves. Burgos walked Coco Crisp and Ortiz, putting two on with one out. But Ramirez struck out and Kevin Youkilis hit into a forceout, giving Burgos his 17th save.
"We always do feel we have a chance, but that's not the way you want to play," Francona said.
Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 23 games when he doubled in the third and scored on Youkilis' double. Ramirez, who has the longest hitting streak in the AL this year, is hitting .388 in the streak with eight doubles, seven homers and 24 RBI.
Wily Mo Pena hit a two-run homer later in the inning, putting Boston ahead 3-2 with a drive estimated at 451 feet. The ball cleared the left-field outfield plaza seats and landed on the concourse, just short of a concession stand.
"He hit is so far, I didn't want to look," Hudson said. "If you're going to give them up, that's the way to do it because they count the same as a wall-scrapper."
Brown, who was playing in left, watched the ball sail over the stands.
"That is the farthest ball I've see hit in a major league park, ever," Brown said.
Hudson is 5-0 since being recalled from Triple-A Omaha on June 30 and has lowered his ERA from 8.74 to 4.65. Hudson (5-3) gave up three runs and eight hits in six innings, improving to 4-0 with a 3.68 ERA in six starts since moving into the rotation on July 7.
"Huddy did it again, just like he's been doing every since he came back from Omaha," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "He just had one bad inning and bounced back."
Red Sox second baseman Mark Loretta was hit by a Hudson pitch in the fifth and was replaced by Alex Cora. X-rays were negative on Loretta, who has a bruised left elbow and is day to day.
Brown gave the Royals a 4-3 lead with a two-run single with two outs in the fifth, and Mark Grudzielanek added a sacrifice fly in the sixth. After Ortiz's homer, Brown connected against Rudy Seanez in the seventh.
Hudson (5-3) gave up three runs and eight hits in six innings, improving to 4-0 with a 3.68 ERA in six starts since moving into the rotation on July 7. He began the season 0-3 with an 8.74 ERA in nine relief appearances.
Angel Berroa's RBI single and David DeJesus' sacrifice fly put the Royals ahead in the second.
Boston RHP Keith Foulke, rehabbing with Triple-A Pawtucket, threw one scoreless inning on Tuesday against Rochester, allowing one hit and striking out one. Foulke, on the DL with elbow tendinitis, threw 18 pitches. He is scheduled to pitch another inning on Wednesday for Pawtucket and rejoin the Red Sox on Friday. ... The Royals have thrown a major league-high 65 wild pitches.