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Red Sox bash five homers as Beckett outduels Greinke

CBSSports.com wire reports
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Boston's five home runs would seem insignificant if a certain line drive single had twisted a couple of inches to the left.

That ball would have smashed into Josh Beckett's head instead of merely grazing the back of his noggin during an 8-3 victory Saturday night over Kansas City.

"I've had some line drives hit back at me and stuff. I've been hit in the legs before," said Beckett, who was making his first start since signing a four-year, $68 million contract extension. "But never anywhere else."

Jeremy Hermida and Jason Varitek homered on consecutive pitches from Zack Greinke and the Red Sox went deep five times altogether while stopping a three-game losing streak.

Varitek added a second homer and Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia also connected, helping Beckett remain unbeaten against Kansas City.

It was in the seventh when David DeJesus whistled a single up the middle that brushed the back of Beckett's head.

He made sure the near disaster did not rattle him.

"I was thinking about how many runs we were going to score," said Beckett (1-0). "It didn't hit me very hard. I wasn't too worried about it."

Beckett allowed three runs and nine hits in seven innings. He had one walk and four strikeouts while beating the Royals for the fifth straight start. In eight career starts against the Royals, Beckett is 6-0.

Greinke (0-1) had a 1-0 lead after four but Hermida hit a 1-1 pitch leading off the fifth for his first home run. Varitek then slammed Greinke's next delivery into the Royals bullpen, marking the first time in Greinke's career the right-hander had allowed home runs on consecutive pitches.

"Those were just two bad pitches," said Greinke. "I hope they take it, but they both swung at it. Those were as good as pitches to hit as they'll ever see again."

Varitek, making his first start of the year, homered off Luis Mendoza in the ninth. Three batters later Pedroia hit a two-run shot, giving him three RBI. Youkilis led off the Boston eighth with a solo homer off Dusty Hughes.

"My focus obviously was Josh and what has to go on there," said Varitek, the Red Sox veteran catcher. "It's nice to contribute, absolutely. Both swings, I was able to get the good part of the bat on the ball. The ball was carrying a little bit to the right."

Greinke has given up five earned runs in his first two starts -- one more than he allowed in his first eight starts en route to the Cy Young award a year ago.

In addition to the five home runs, Boston got an RBI double from Jacoby Ellsbury.

"The two things I can complain about the most today were the two curveballs for home runs and falling behind Ellsbury instead of getting ahead in the count," said Greinke, who yielded eight hits and four runs in 6 2/3 innings, with five strikeouts and no walks. He also hit two batters, including Marco Scutaro, who scored on Ellsbury's double.

Rick Ankiel had an RBI single for Kansas City in the first, his fifth straight hit. Ankiel, who was 4 for 4 on Thursday night, doubled in the fourth to make it six hits in six at-bats before popping up in his next appearance.

Beckett said he felt no extra pressure going against one of the game's top starters.

"I feel like with this lineup we're going to score runs off whoever's pitching," he said. "I really believe in our guys. I'm not too concerned with who they're facing. I just have to get the other guys out."

Notes

  • Mike Lowell, the former gold glover who made his first start of the year at third base for Boston, turned in a terrific play on Yuniesky Betancourt's hard-hit grounder in the second.
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched five scoreless innings in a minor league rehab assignment Saturday for Triple-A Pawtuckett.
  • Ankiel made a fine running catch of Victor Martinez's drive deep into center.
 
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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Jason Varitek, in his first start of the season, slams two home runs to support his batterymate Josh Beckett.  (AP)
Jason Varitek, in his first start of the season, slams two home runs to support his batterymate Josh Beckett. (AP)

Players of the Game
Boston

J. Varitek
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 2
Kansas City

R. Ankiel
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF-LF5231001 .320
Dustin Pedroia, 2B3113001 .250
Victor Martinez, DH5000012 .182
Kevin Youkilis, 1B5121010 .389
J.D. Drew, RF4010022 .211
Mike Lowell, 3B4010001 .250
    Adrian Beltre, 3B0000000 .333
Jeremy Hermida, LF3111011 .500
   a- Mike Cameron, PH-CF1000000 .357
Jason Varitek, C4222010 .500
Marco Scutaro, SS3110000 .267
Totals37812806  
a-popped out for Hermida in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jacoby Ellsbury (3, Greinke)
HR - Dustin Pedroia (2, Mendoza), Kevin Youkilis (1, Hughes), Jeremy Hermida (1, Greinke), Jason Varitek 2 (2, Greinke, Mendoza)
SF - Dustin Pedroia (1)
RBI - Jacoby Ellsbury (1), Dustin Pedroia 3 (6), Kevin Youkilis (4), Jeremy Hermida (1), Jason Varitek 2 (2)
SB - Marco Scutaro (1, 2nd base off Greinke/Kendall)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Scutaro-Youkilis, Pedroia-Scutaro-Youkilis
Boston Red Sox
Josh Beckett (W,1-0) 7933140 6.17
Hideki Okajima (H,2) 1000000 3.00
Ramon Ramirez 1000000 13.50
Pitches-Strikes - Josh Beckett 105-71, Hideki Okajima 12-8, Ramon Ramirez 15-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Josh Beckett 10-5
Batters Faced - Josh Beckett 29, Hideki Okajima 3, Ramon Ramirez 3
Kansas City Royals
David DeJesus, RF4011010 .286
Scott Podsednik, LF4010011 .333
Alberto Callaspo, 3B4110001 .188
Billy Butler, 1B3000111 .222
Rick Ankiel, CF4021001 .400
Jose Guillen, DH4110003 .211
Jason Kendall, C4010001 .313
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS3010000 .176
   a- Mike Aviles, PH1000000 .000
Chris Getz, 2B3110011 .313
Totals3439214  
a-flied out for Betancourt in the 9th
Batting
2B - Scott Podsednik (1, Beckett), Alberto Callaspo (1, Beckett), Rick Ankiel (3, Beckett), Jose Guillen (2, Beckett)
RBI - David DeJesus (1), Rick Ankiel (5)
2-OUT RBI - David DeJesus (1), Rick Ankiel (4)
SB - Chris Getz (3, 2nd base off Beckett/Varitek)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Betancourt-Getz-Butler
Kansas City Royals
Zack Greinke (L,0-1) 6.2844052 3.55
Dusty Hughes 1111011 9.00
Luis Mendoza 0.2333002 30.86
Roman Colon 0.2000000 18.00
HBP - Pedroia (by Zack Greinke), Scutaro (by Zack Greinke)
Pitches-Strikes - Zack Greinke 108-68, Dusty Hughes 16-8, Luis Mendoza 12-7, Roman Colon 10-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zack Greinke 8-6, Dusty Hughes 2-0, Roman Colon 2-0
Batters Faced - Zack Greinke 29, Dusty Hughes 4, Luis Mendoza 5, Roman Colon 2
Game Information
Attendance - 37505
Game Time - 2:47
Temperature - 74
Umpires - Home - Gary Darling, First Base - Bill Hohn, Second Base - Bruce Dreckman, Third Base - Mike Estabrook