Red Sox 4, Royals 3: Daniel Nava heroic again in Boston homecoming

Jim Rogash

The Red Sox enjoyed a triumphant homecoming and made it seven straight wins thanks to a huge homer from Daniel Nava.

WIth Clay Buchholz and James Shields on the mound, it was no surprise when this one developed into a pitchers' duel. For the first four innings, each starter would trade zeroes. with David Ortiz providing the Red Sox with their only hit in his second at bat of the season.

The fifth inning would change things, and not in Boston's favor. Lorenzo Cain, having already singled in the second, squeezed a ball inside the left field line and into the corner for a double. Mike Moustakas would move him to third with a fly ball, and Jeff Francoeur cashed in with a ground ball into left to make it a 1-0 Kansas City lead.

That was the first deficit the Red Sox had faced in a good while, and it wouldn't last long. Jacoby Ellsbury led off the bottom of the sixth with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and then third on a ground ball out. David Ortiz stepped up to the plate. The resulting hit wasn't quite as perfect as the homer a Hollywood script would have produced, but the returning Ortiz managed to find the right spot none-the-less, singling up the middle to tie the game at two.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, the trend Lorenzo Cain had started in the fifth had held up in the sixth with a double down the left field line, and would continue in the seventh as Cain himself slashed a ground ball past a diving Will Middlebrooks into that same corner. Buchholz had escaped in the sixth, and looked poised to do so again in the seventh, but Salvador Perez took a half-hearted swing at a ball high and outside and somehow poked it into right field, just barely in foul territory. Perez would get all the way to third, but all that mattered at the moment was Cain coming home to make it 2-1, Kansas City.

Eventually, Daniel Nava would be known as the hero of this game, but first he spent an inning as Boston's ruin. After taking a pitch off the foot from Aaron Crow and moving into scoring position with zero outs on Will Middlebrooks' hit, Nava found himself picked off of second, taking a massive lead with Stephen Drew at the plate looking to bunt (the pitch was high, and Drew rightly laid off for a ball). Jacoby Ellsbury would ultimately fly out to end the inning before the Red Sox could push one across.

Ultimately, though, Nava would get a chance for redemption in the very next inning, and seized it in the best possible way. A leadoff double from Jonny Gomes and walk from Dustin Pedroia put the Red Sox in position for a big inning, but David Ortiz' hard hit ground ball found Alcides Escobar's glove, starting a double play. Mike Napoli would get little to hit from Kelvin Herrera, instead taking a walk and bringing Daniel Nava to the plate. Nava took the first two pitches he saw for a ball and a strike, then took an uppercut swing on a changeup right down the pipe. The ball found a glove, but it was Koji Uehara's out in the Boston bullpen, putting the Red Sox up 4-2.

The Red Sox would have to sweat out a scary save from Andrew Bailey, who clearly was not at the top of his game today, allowing a leadoff homer to who else but Lorenzo Cain. In the end, though, an Alex Gordon ground ball to Stephen Drew was good for out number three, and a seventh straight Red Sox win.

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