Kansas City at Boston

Scoreboard
Kansas City (41-53) «000240000690
Boston (56-38)0004100005101

Last-place Royals batter Tavarez, top slumping Red Sox

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

BOSTON -- The Kansas City Royals left the slumping Red Sox answering questions about the surging Yankees.

"Are the Yankees back in it?" Boston's Coco Crisp said. "They were never out of it."

Riding high with a 12-game lead in the AL East less than two weeks ago, the Red Sox are just seven games ahead after losing their second game in a row to Kansas City, 6-5 on Wednesday night.

Still, they've been in first place for 95 consecutive days and have the biggest lead in any of the six divisions.

"You know what?" Boston shortstop Julio Lugo asked. "They still have to catch us. We don't have to catch anybody."

But New York has cut five games off the lead in just 13 days by winning eight of their last 10 games. The Red Sox are 3-7 in that stretch after dropping two of three to the Royals, who are in the AL Central cellar despite winning 12 of their last 19 games.

"You come into Fenway Park, which is one of the special places to play, against a team that has the best record in the American League," Kansas City manager Buddy Bell said. "You should feel pretty good."

The Red Sox did have the AL's top mark after beating the Royals 4-0 on Monday night but have slipped behind Detroit. That's where the Royals are headed for the final stop on a tough three-city road trip that began in Cleveland.

"We know we're facing unbelievable teams," Royals closer Octavio Dotel said, "but, at the same time, we know we can get them out."

Dotel wrapped up a strong performance by Kansas City's bullpen when he retired Manny Ramirez on a popup to second base for the final out after David Ortiz singled. It was his 10th save in 13 chances. Odalis Perez (5-8) went five innings, allowing all of Boston's runs, to win for the first time in five starts.

"I don't want to face either of those guys. This is the best one-two punch in the league," Dotel said. "I was so happy when he popped out."

Billy Butler doubled in the go-ahead run in a four-run fifth and the Royals battered Julian Tavarez in his third consecutive poor performance.

After managing just one hit in the first three innings, they scored twice in the fourth, then went ahead 6-4 in the fifth when they chased Tavarez (5-8).

In his last five starts, he is 0-4 with a 7.71 ERA and has allowed 42 hits in 23 1/3 innings. He didn't make it past the fifth inning in four of those outings. In his previous seven starts, he was 3-0 with a 3.07 ERA and gave up 37 hits in 44 innings.

"I think I changed my game plan" in the fourth, Tavarez said. "I wasn't attacking the hitter like I was doing earlier."

Trailing 4-2 after four, Kansas City pounded Tavarez in the fifth. David DeJesus singled and scored on Mark Grudzielanek's double. Mark Teahen reached on third baseman Mike Lowell's error and Butler followed with a two-run double. Alex Gordon singled in the final run of the inning.

Butler also drove in the Royals' first two runs of their 9-3 win Tuesday night with a double in the fourth.

Ramirez cut the lead to 6-5 in the bottom of the fifth with his 14th homer of the season.

The Red Sox had two good chances to tie the game.

With runners at first and second in the seventh, second baseman Grudzielanek made a sliding grab of a grounder headed to right field and threw out Kevin Youkilis at first for the third out.

"That's a game changer," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.

After Crisp tripled with two outs in the eighth, Lugo flied out.

"Taking two games from these guys is a lot of fun and says a lot about our team," Kansas City's Jason LaRue said.

The Royals had taken a 2-0 lead in the fourth on Ross Gload's sacrifice fly and Gordon's RBI single.

The Red Sox scored four in the bottom of the inning. Ramirez singled and scored on Jason Varitek's force play grounder. Lugo doubled in two runs and J.D. Drew added a sacrifice fly.

That wasn't enough to keep the Yankees from gaining ground.

"If we don't continue to play well, they're going to catch us," Crisp said.

Notes

  • Butler has seven RBI in the last six games.
  • Lugo extended his hitting streak to eight games after going 3-for-46 in his previous 18.
  • Boston RHP Mike Timlin pitched 2 1/3 perfect innings, extending his scoreless streak to 13 2/3 innings over nine games.
  • Varitek threw out two runners trying to steal for the second time in 11 days.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Billy Butler and closer Octavio Dotel get to celebrate after the Royals take two of three from Boston.  (AP)
Billy Butler and closer Octavio Dotel get to celebrate after the Royals take two of three from Boston. (AP)

Players of the Game
Kansas City

B. Butler
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
Boston

M. Ramirez
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 

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Kansas City Royals
David DeJesus, CF4110000 .272
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B4221000 .281
Mark Teahen, RF4210000 .284
Billy Butler, 1B3122100 .311
    Esteban German, PR-3B0000000 .281
Ross Gload, DH3001022 .256
Alex Gordon, 3B-1B4022010 .240
Emil Brown, LF4010002 .236
Jason Smith, SS4000022 .203
Jason LaRue, C4000030 .173
Totals3469618  
Batting
2B - Mark Grudzielanek (19, Tavarez), Billy Butler (9, Tavarez)
SF - Ross Gload (2)
RBI - Mark Grudzielanek (30), Billy Butler 2 (21), Ross Gload (26), Alex Gordon 2 (31)
2-OUT RBI - Alex Gordon 2 (13)
CS - Esteban German (5, 2nd base by Delcarmen/Varitek), Alex Gordon (3, 2nd base by Timlin/Varitek)
Team LOB - 3
Kansas City Royals
Odalis Perez (W,5-8) 5755221 5.84
David Riske (H,10) 1000000 2.47
Jimmy Gobble (H,8) 0.2100010 2.67
Joakim Soria (H,9) 1.1100110 1.98
Octavio Dotel (S,10) 1100010 3.15
Pitches-Strikes - Odalis Perez 95-61, David Riske 8-7, Jimmy Gobble 8-6, Joakim Soria 33-21, Octavio Dotel 13-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Odalis Perez 9-4, David Riske 2-1, Jimmy Gobble 1-0, Joakim Soria 1-2, Octavio Dotel 1-1
Batters Faced - Odalis Perez 24, David Riske 3, Jimmy Gobble 3, Joakim Soria 6, Octavio Dotel 4
Boston Red Sox
J.D. Drew, RF4001000 .252
Dustin Pedroia, 2B5030011 .316
David Ortiz, DH5020012 .321
    Alex Cora, PR-DH0000000 .279
Manny Ramirez, LF4221103 .292
Kevin Youkilis, 1B3100114 .313
Mike Lowell, 3B4010000 .306
Jason Varitek, C4101010 .270
Coco Crisp, CF3110110 .266
Julio Lugo, SS4012001 .218
Totals36510535  
Batting
2B - Dustin Pedroia (22, O. Perez), Julio Lugo (16, O. Perez)
3B - Coco Crisp (6, Soria)
HR - Manny Ramirez (14, O. Perez)
SF - J.D. Drew (3)
RBI - J.D. Drew (34), Manny Ramirez (54), Jason Varitek (39), Julio Lugo 2 (42)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Varitek-Lugo
E - Mike Lowell (14, Misplayed grounder)
Boston Red Sox
Julian Tavarez (L,5-8) 4.2964030 5.27
Mike Timlin 2.1000010 3.56
Manny Delcarmen 1000120 1.23
Jonathan Papelbon 1000020 1.82
Pitches-Strikes - Julian Tavarez 76-51, Mike Timlin 20-13, Manny Delcarmen 5-1, Jonathan Papelbon 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Julian Tavarez 8-4, Mike Timlin 2-3
Batters Faced - Julian Tavarez 24, Mike Timlin 6, Manny Delcarmen 3, Jonathan Papelbon 3
Game Information
Attendance - 36681
Game Time - 3:08
Temperature - 66
Umpires - Home - Larry Vanover, First Base - Tony Randazzo, Second Base - Charlie Reliford, Third Base - Greg Gibson