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Red Sox 4, Royals 2: Sox knock Royals from Central perch

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A surprisingly strong start from Allen Webster saw the Red Sox knock the Royals out of the AL Central lead.

Ed Zurga

The Red Sox ushered the Royals into second place in the A.L. Central, taking advantage of a surprisingly strong performance from Allen Webster to secure a 4-2 victory.

The Sox have seen little enough in the way of positive signs from their young pitcher, so even a decent start would have been quite the surprise. Instead of decent, though, Webster was just plain good. It was a night where his stuff was good enough to miss bats with some regularity, but rather than turning those whiffs into strikeouts, Webster used them to get ahead in the count, eventually recording outs with weak contact, and lots of it.

It would not be a completely clean night for Webster, who ended up working around a pair of two-out runners in the second before stumbling more significantly in the fourth. There, a leadoff walk to Alex Gordon came back to haunt him when a 2-0 changeup to Eric Hosmer stayed up and over the plate, and was in turn promptly belted a long way to right for a two-run homer.

By that point, however, the Red Sox lineup had already established a cushion large enough to absorb that hit. The third inning had seen Jemille Weeks spark a rally with a one-out double, scoring when Mookie Betts singled to right field behind him. Xander Bogaerts would strike out, but Yordano Ventura plunked Daniel Nava, then see Eric Hosmer throw away what was ruled an infield single for Yoenis Cespedes, allowing Betts to score from second. Ultimately, though, it was a wild pitch that would allow Daniel Nava to score the run that would keep the Red Sox ahead after the fourth.

Allen Webster would respond to his hiccup with a pair of 1-2-3 innings before being pulled for Tommy Layne, with John Farrell presumably not willing to risk the positive night for his young starter. He would depart with a two-run lead, with Jemile Weeks turning another leadoff  double into another run in the top of the fifth. Layne proved up to the task of holding onto said lead pitching a scoreless seventh before handing the ball off to none other than Koji Uehara. who enjoyed a 1-2-3 inning in his return to action, and went back to his old high-fiving ways upon his return to the dugout. A quick nine pitches in the ninth for Edward Mujica, and that was all she wrote. The Royals fell and, with the Tigers taking a 7-2 win over Cleveland, the AL Central lead changed hands for at least one night.