Notes: Beckett done in by a couple of pitches

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Notes: Beckett done in by a couple of pitches

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
PHILADELPHIA - For someone who had been felled by the flu and hadn't pitched for 13 days, Josh Beckett didn't pitch horribly Tuesday night.

He made two bad pitches that resulted in four runs, however, and that was way more than Cliff Lee, the opposing starter, needed to beat the Red Sox.

"You can't give that guy two runs in the second inning," said Beckett. "That just lets him go to his whole deal. I've got to battle a little better than that."

Asked if the pitches that Domonic Brown and Shane Victorino smacked for two-run homers were where he wanted him, Beckett, self-effacing as always, cracked: "They were where they wanted them."

Allowing himself some credit, Beckett added: "I felt like I made a couple of nice pitches when I needed to."

Beckett, whose last outing saw him allow just one baserunner in a win over Tampa Bay, "just didn't feel as strong," said Terry Francona. "But I thought he felt like he had to pitch and I thought he did. But the two pitches, that's four runs."

"He made two mistakes," agreed catcher Jason Varitek, "and they got us for two big home runs. Other than that, I thought he did a real good job of trying to get himself back on the mound."

Bobby Jenks and Franklin Morales, both fresh off the disabled list, got an inning each of work Tuesday.

In the eighth, Jenks, activated after missing a few weeks with a strained intercostal, allowed an infield hit and a walk, but also struck out two.

Jenks made a one-inning appearance for Portland (Double A) over the weekend and was eager to contribute after having his first season in Boston interrupted twice by injury twice in the first three months.

"I'm just excited to be back," said Jenks. "I think I might be the most frustrated one here. When I came back from the DL the first time, I was throwing the ball extremely well and then this happened.

"Nobody could be more frustrated than I am or more happy to be back. Hopefully, this will be the last time (he's sidelined with an ailment) and I can just roll into September and the playoffs extremely happy."

Asked how he was dealing with the frustration, Jenks joked: "Lots of Nicorette gum."

To make room for Jenks, the Sox sent Scott Atchison back to Pawtucket.

Morales looked sharp in the seventh inning, getting a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts.

The Red Sox swapped out lefty Tommy Hottovy for lefty Morales, who had been on the DL with elbow inflammation.

Outfielder Carl Crawford tested his pulled hamstring by running six 90-feet sprints at about half-speed.

Crawford is eligible to come off the DL Sunday in his hometown of Houston, but that looks like a long shot.

Francona had Darnell McDonald hitting fifth, despite the fact that the outfielder was hitting just .103 with a homer and three RBI.

"We thought about moving (Jason Varitek) up one," said Francona. "I thought about a few things, but I didn't think there
was a better lineup."

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Quotes, notes and stars: Betts has first career five-hit night

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Quotes, notes and stars: Betts has first career five-hit night

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 6-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals

QUOTES:

"We continually do a great job in creating opportunities and I'm confident that (the struggles with men in scoring position) will turn.'' - John Farrell

"When you start off with a five-run spot in the first, that's a tough deficit to overcome.'' - Steven Wright.

"That's how it goes sometimes. Sometimes, we score when we're not expecting to and then when we need to score, sometimes it doesn't happen.'' - Mookie Betts on the team going 4-for-15 with RISP.

 

NOTES:

* The loss was just the third in the last 13 series openers for the Red Sox.

* The game marked the first time in 20 home games in which the Sox never led.

* Boston was 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

* The first four hitters in the order were 13-for-19 (.684). The fifth-through-nine hitters, however, were just 2-for-21 (.095).

* Mookie Betts (five hits) leads the majors with 55 multi-hit games.

* Dustin Pedroia has reached base in each of his last eight plate appearances.

* David Ortiz's double was the 625th of his career, passing Hank Aaron to move into 10 place in MLB history.

* Ortiz leads the A.L. in doubles (41) and extra-base hits (72).

 

STARS:

1) Eric Hosmer

Hosmer cranked a three-run homer into the Monster Seats four batters into the game, and the Royals were off and running with a five-run inning.

2) Ian Kennedy

The Royals starter wasn't dominant, allowing nine hits in 5 1/3 innings, but he bailed himself out of a number of jams and limited the Sox to just two runs.

3) Mookie Betts

Betts had his first career five-hit night and knocked in two of the three Red Sox runs, though he also got himself picked off first base.

 

First impressions: Royals' five-run first inning dooms Red Sox in 6-3 loss

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First impressions: Royals' five-run first inning dooms Red Sox in 6-3 loss

First impressions from the Red Sox' 6-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals:

 

Steven Wright recovered nicely after the first inning, but the damage was done.

Wright's last five innings featured just three hits allowed -- one in the infield. But the first inning did the Red Sox in -- two walks followed by a three-run homer, then a single and a two-run homer.

Whether this was a matter of rust for Wright -- who last pitched three weeks ago Friday night -- or an early inability to command his knuckleball is uncertain.

The fact is, Wright dug an early hole for his teammates, and he had the misfortune to do so against a team with the best bullpen in baseball.

To his credit, Wright kept the game somewhat within reach thereafter, but the five-run head start proved too much of a jump.

 

It's time to worry a little about Jackie Bradley.

Bradley was just 7-for-40 in the just-completed road trip, and things didn't get any better on the first night of the homestand.

In the first, he came up with two on and two out and struck out swinging to strand both baserunners. In the third, he came to the plate with runners on the corners and, again, struck out swinging.

We're seeing the same kind of slump that Bradley fell into in previous seasons, where even contact is hard to find, with nine strikeouts in the last 16 at-bats.

Problem is, with Andrew Benitendi on the DL, there aren't a lot of options for John Farrell with the Red Sox outfield.

 

Trying to get Fernando Abad and Junichi Tazawa back on track in low- leverage mop-up didn't work.

Tazawa had a perfect seventh, but gave up a monster shot into the center field bleachers to Lorenzo Cain to start the eighth.

Abad entered, and while he did record a couple of strikeouts, also gave up a single, a walk and threw a wild pitches before he could complete the inning.

Getting some work for the two was the right idea, given that the Sox were down by three runs at the time. A good outing might help either regain some confidence and turn the corner.

But not even that could be accomplished Friday night.