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Royals 5, Red Sox 1: Bruce Chen baffles inept Red Sox lineup


Jim McIsaac

The Red Sox were not the team to disrupt either the Royals or Bruce Chen's momentum, falling 5-1 thanks to an inept performance at the plate.

Oddly enough, the biggest positive of the game would come from the man who seemed, at least at first, to be Boston's biggest problem: Jon Lester. A truly laborious first inning saw Lester put the Red Sox in an early hole. Lorenzo Cain started the game with a double to deep left, then after getting a ground out, Lester walked Billy Butler to put runners on the corners. The fly ball that followed would have scored a run either way, but Jonny Gomes completely bungled the catch, leaving Lester staring down another two-on, one-out situation, just with a run in this time. Another walk to Jason Maxwell and single from Mike Moustakas left two more runs on the board, even if just one was earned.

Had Lester's night continued on like so, this would be one of the most singularly negative nights of the year. But thankfully the southpaw would rally. The last out of the first inning started a run of eight straight batters retired for Lester, and with Mike Moustakas getting himself caught stealing after breaking the streak, it wouldn't be until the fifth that the Royals managed to keep a baserunner on against Lester.

Unfortunately, the Red Sox were making Bruce Chen look as much like a Cy Young contender as, well, everyone else he's faced since his return has. Usually when you watch a pitcher hold a team to six baserunners and not a single run in 7.2 innings of work it's easy to see that player's quality. With Chen, though, he just throws some pretty normal stuff and then points up as his fielders settle underneath weak fly ball after weak fly ball. It's baffling, but effective, and more than anything frustrating as can be.

While the Red Sox have had long, awful games turn suddenly fantastic at the end, the eighth inning proved only good for more misery, as Rubby De La Rosa surrendered a pair of crushed homers in the eighth, dropping the Red Sox behind by five. In the end, Jonny Gomes and Stephen Drew combining to bring home a single run for Boston in the ninth was not much in the way of consolation.

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