The pair of losses stand in sharp contrast to the seven wins that preceded them, but this one was not without its positives. Or, rather, its positive in Allen Webster. Making his major league debut, the young Webster showed he's not far off being ready to contribute to the Red Sox' rotation. Working quickly and efficiently, Webster was touched for an unearned run in the first thanks to a very high throw to first from Pedro Ciriaco, but settled in nicely, keeping the Royals from adding any more until the fifth.
By that time, Boston had given him three runs to work with, courtesy a Mike Napoli homer and Mike Carp double in the second, as well as a Jacoby Ellsbury double and Dustin Pedroia single in the third. Unfortunately, it wasn't going to be enough for Webster, whose inexperience shined through on some flat fastballs in the fifth, resulting in a pair of solo shots that left the score tied. Webster would manage to close out the fifth, and then work the sixth as well, but the damage had been done.
Mike Napoli was up to the task of putting the Red Sox back on top in the bottom of the fifth, scoring Daniel Nava with his third hit of the night, but even that fourth run wouldn't be enough. Ultimately, the failure came from the one the Red Sox would least expect: Koji Uehara. While he would manage to get the first two outs of the eighth in short order, Billy Butler blasted a game-tying homer to left before Uehara could get the third.
The Red Sox would have a chance for a walkoff in the ninth, with Dustin Pedroia coming to the plate with Jacoby Ellsbury in scoring position. The Royals, surprisingly, opted to walk Pedroia in favor of facing Mike Napoli, who had already done his fair share of damage in the game. Napoli almost made them pay for it, too, launching a long fly ball to center field, but came short of the wall, allowing Lorenzo Cain to settle underneath it for the out.
With Andrew Bailey having already pitched the ninth, John Farrell turned to Andrew Miller in the tenth, and that's when the final blow was struck. After striking out Miguel Tejada, Miller allowed a single and a walk, and then with two outs gave up an infield single to Eric Hosmer to load the bases. His next four pitches missed the strike zone, and just like that, the Royals took a 5-4 lead they would not surrender, securing the series win.
It's been a long, disappointing day. But in the end it is just one day. A day where David Ortiz only played once, and Shane Victorino was sidelined with a tweaked back. A day where the Sox lost two games by three runs, and took 19 innings to do so. Unfortunately, it's also a day before the Sox a starter scheduled who does not generally go deep, and the bullpen is well and used up. It might be another tough day coming, but even then the Sox have built up plenty of leeway with that seven game winning streak. They need to shake this off, and move on.
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