It was billed as a heavy-weight pitching matchup: the 2009 Cy Young Award Winner, Zach Greinke vs. the 2007 Cy Young Runner-Up Josh Beckett. Through six full innings, only three runs total were allowed, as both starters pitched out of danger. But the duel of the aces turned in favor of Boston; Sox bats woke up in the 5th against Greinke with back-to-back homers, and kept Boston ahead through the rest of the game.
Beckett allowed a single run in the first inning, and faced trouble throughout the night (only two 1-2-3 innings), in each instance working out of it. His curveball, excepting one hung to Rick Ankiel, was exceptional, and with improved fastball command, Beckett was able to turn in a quality start, going 7 innings and only allowing three runs. Greinke was solid and kept his team in the game until the 7th, when he allowed two more runs to score (Scutaro HBP, Ellsbury double, Pedroia sac fly). Sox batters kept up the pressure with a Youkilis homer in the 8th, and broke the game open with three runs in the 9th (including a Dustin Pedroia homer). Meanwhile, Oki and Ramon Ramirez (the First) shut down the Royals in the 8th and 9th innings.
It was a great win all around: good starting pitching, fine relief work, and solid offense. The bench, playing in force as starters Cameron, Beltre, and Ortiz rested, contributed significantly to the win; Hermida homered, and Jason Varitek went deep twice. With a victory tomorrow, Boston can salvage a 2-1 series win against KC.