(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
This was a game both won and lost by defense.
For the Sox, it was a defensive letdown in the first that cost them the game. After Lester had retired the first two batters in short order, he would surrender a walk after a long at bat, and then get a fly ball to center field. Marlon Byrd came in, effectively got caught in the headlights, and had to make a late leap to even get his glove on the ball. A terrible misread, one run gone to the Royals.
Then came Cody Ross, trying to make a running grab he at least managed to get the ball into the glove. He just didn't manage to keep it there, losing grip and having it pop out and off the wall before he managed to reel it back in. Two more runs in.
The Royals, on the other hand, had a staunch defensive performance save the game. In the fifth, with the Sox having tied the game 3-3 and then fallen behind 4-3 in the bottom of the fourth, Bruce Chen allowed Dustin Pedroia to nearly take him deep, and then gave up a line drive up the middle to David Ortiz. Sounds like a run, right? Instead, Alex Gordon made a leaping grab at the wall in left, and Alcides Escobar snagged Ortiz' liner. What was likely to be a run turned into just two more outs.
Gordon would end up doing it again in the ninth, too, making a diving grab on Ryan Sweeney's line drive with runners on second and third. It was the perfect placement for Gordon, just close enough that he could make the grab, while far enough in to keep Darnell McDonald at third.
Another day, another loss.