BOSTON -- The Red Sox fell in their series finale with the Royals, 4-3, Sunday at Kauffman Stadium. The Sox dropped three of four in the series, finishing their season series 2-5 against the Royals. They also fell to 3-4 in the first seven game of their 10-game road trip, with three in Toronto beginning Tuesday.
John Lackey took the loss, falling to 7-10, with a 3.32 ERA. He went seven innings, giving up four runs on seven hits, including a home run, and two walks with five strikeouts.
James Shields got the win, improving to 7-8 with a 3.33 ERA. He also went seven innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on seven hits and three walks with five strikeouts.
The Sox scored first, with a run in the first inning, when Shane Victorino doubled and Dustin Pedroia walked with one out. With David Ortiz batting, Victorino stole third. After Ortiz struck out, with Daniel Nava batting, Victorino scored on an errant pick-off attempt by Royals catcher Salvador Perez, with Pedroia going to second. Nava struck out to end the inning.
The Royals did all their scoring in the first three innings. In the first, Lackey issued walks to the first two batters -- David Lough and Eric Hosmer -- before Billy Butler grounded into a double play, sending Lough to third. Alex Gordon’s single to right tied the score.
In the second Mike Moustakas led off with a double, taking third on Alcides Escobar’s sacrifice bunt and scoring on Jarrod Dyson’s single. Dyson stole second and scored on Lough’s single to right, putting the Royals ahead 3-1.
Gordon’s one-out solo home run in the third gave Kansas City a 4-1 lead.
The Sox cut the lead to one in sixth. After Ortiz grounded out, Daniel Nava hit and infield single. Stephen Drew’s two-out double put runners at second and third, with both scoring on Ryan Lavarnway’s single down the left field line.
Drake Britton entered in the eighth. The left-hander did not allow a run, but did not take the easy route to doing so. Butler led off with a single to left, and was replaced by pinch-runner Justin Maxwell. On an errant pick-off attempt by Britton, Maxwell broke for second but was thrown out by Mike Napoli. After Gordon doubled, Britton intentionally walked Salvador Perez and unintentionally walked Mike Moustakas to load the bases. But Alcides Escobar grounded to Middlebrooks at third on the first pitch, with Gordon forced out at home. Britton struck out Dyson to end the threat.
Greg Holland earned his 32nd save retiring Lavarnway on a groundout, and striking out Middlebrooks and Ellsbury for a perfect ninth.
STAR OF THE GAME: James Shields
Shields went seven innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on seven hits and three walks with five strikeouts. He got the win, improving to 7-8 with a 3.33 ERA. It was his 19th quality start in 25 outings this season, fourth in his last five.
HONORABLE MENTION: Alex Gordon
Gordon went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI, falling a triple shy of the cycle. His third inning solo home run proved to be the difference in the game. He is 8-for-19, batting .421, in his last five games with two doubles and three home runs.
THE GOAT: John Lackey
Lackey took the loss, falling to 7-10, with a 3.32 ERA. He went seven innings, giving up four runs on seven hits, including a home run, and two walks with five strikeouts. All the runs he allowed came in the first three innings. He opened the game with consecutive walks, with one scoring. He and Ryan Lavarnway combined to allow three stolen bases, one of which led to a run.
THE TURNING POINT
Gordon’s solo home run in the third, his 13th of the season, on a 2-and-2 fastball was the difference in the game.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Sox went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position, leaving a total of seven runners on base.
QUOTE OF NOTE
“They’re a solid team. They pitch well. They’re athletic. They’ve got some good hitters in that lineup. But we’re going to go up against good teams the rest of the way and losing three out of four is just that.” -- Manager John Farrell on losing three of four to the Royals