Sox grind out win over Royals, 4-3

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Sox grind out win over Royals, 4-3

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

BOSTON In the end all the Sox wanted was a measly little win, and thats exactly what they earned.

Without the ailing David Ortiz or Kevin Youkilis and locked into a rut of four losses in their previous six games headed into Thursday nights tilt with the Kansas City Royals, the Sox eked out 4-3 victory over KC at steamy Kauffman Stadium.

The go-go Sox ran into a handful of outs on the base paths while working aggressively, but they also did just enough offensively with some gaping holes in their lineup while finishing with four stolen bases on the night.

The big blows were a couple of hits from Dustin Pedroia, who stepped up with so many of his teammates on the shelf. Pedroia smacked a two-run single up the middle in the top of the third inning, and collected the game-winner on a run-scoring single in the fifth that saw the second baseman also get gunned down trying to advance toward second base.

Josh Beckett was far from dominant, but he was just good enough to win in lasting seven innings and holding the Royals to three runs.

Luke Hochevar was nearly as good for the Royals, and things looked like they might go Kansas Citys way when Alex Gordon launched his 17th home run of the season over the left field fence in third frame. Gordons blast went opposite field on a Beckett breaking ball that actually a pretty fair piece of hitting, but it also represented the last bit of offense from the Royals.

After the home run, Beckett retired 14 of the final 18 batters he faced and scattered four singles in the final four innings. In all Beckett finished seven full walk-free frames and scattered three runs on seven hits while fanning four Royals hitters.

Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon locked things down over the final two innings to secure the one run win.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs.

Neumeier: Clay Buchholz could be important for Red Sox down the stretch

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Sandoval happy to return to the field after shoulder surgery

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Sandoval happy to return to the field after shoulder surgery

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- For the first time in months, Pablo Sandoval met up with his Red Sox teammates Wednesday, breaking from his rehab program two hours away in Fort Myers.

Sandoval, who underwent shoulder surgery in April to repair a torn labrum, has been working out six days per week at the club's spring training complex and appeared noticeably lighter.

"I just starting taking ground balls two days ago,'' said Sandoval. "I feel a little better. I'm happy to be back here with my teammates and happy that I'm starting to work in the field.'' 

Sandoval said his surgically repaired left shoulder is "not back to normal, but it's feeling a lot better. I've started doing a lot of things in the field -- ground balls, playing catch, handling the ball, working out.''

He plans to see Dr. James Andrews soon, and hopes to get clearance to start swinging a bat.

Sandoval appeared to make some veiled references to his weight and conditioning, saying "you learn a lot. You learn from all the mistakes you make, all the things in the past. I have good people around me, supporting me every single day.''

He added that he feels "way different'' than he did in spring training.

"Now that I've learned my lesson,'' he said, "I can do a better job out there. Everything out there is not easy. You have to work hard to learn all the things you were doing wrong. I'll keep working hard and do everything I can to be a better person on the field and off the field.''

As he grinds through conditioning and rehab, Sandoval said he's motivated by "my little boy (Leon). Every time I wake up, I want to do everything for (him), so he can see me back on the field, playing baseball.''

He deflected a question when asked what role he envisioned for himself next February at the start of spring training.

"Whatever,'' he said. "I'm just going to do best that I can. I just want to prepare myself to be better next year.''

Sandoval met with John Farrell Wednesday afternoon.

"He's in good spirits,'' Farrell said. "I think he feels good with all the work he's done. To date, he's done a good job with what he's been capable of doing. The one thing that's clear in getting to know Pablo, I see a guy who's got a lot of pride. Maybe things haven't worked out the way he anticipated through the first two years.

"But it's clear through my conversation with him that he's motivated, he feels like he's got a lot to prove. And I think when you combine his ability with the drive and motivation, this has got a chance to prove to be a productive player here in Boston.''

Meanwhile, Sandoval acknowledged that the Red Sox had not seen him at his best in his two seasons with the club.

"I know that I can prove more and do a better job out there,'' he said. "Things happen for a reason. I'm happy, but I'm not satisfied with the things I'm doing. I'm just going to keep working hard, continue my rehab and be better for next year.''

Sandoval said he misses the game, but watches the Red Sox on TV "every single day.''

"This (time down) is a bonus for me,'' he said. "I want to play, but at the same time, I (get) to see my baby growing up.''