Sox slide past Astros, 2-1, to complete sweep

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Sox slide past Astros, 2-1, to complete sweep

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox InsiderFollow @sean_mcadam
HOUSTON -- On a day in which the Red Sox stranded 12 baserunners and were just 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, it was perhaps fitting that they would push across the winning run without so much as swinging the bat.

Kevin Youkilis worked a based-loaded walk in the top of the ninth, forcing home Drew Sutton with what proved to be the difference in a 2-1 victory over the Houston Astros.

The Astros had intentionally walked Adrian Gonzalez to pitch to Youkilis, who foiled the strategy by drawing a five-pitch walk from reliever Mark Melancon.

The win gave the Sox a sweep of their weekend series here, a four-game winning streak and left them with an interleague record of 10-8.

Josh Beckett, named earlier Sunday as an American League All-Star, picked up his seventh win, allowing just one on five hits over eight innings while fanning a season high 11 hitters.

Jonathan Papelbon locked down the ninth inning for his 17th save in 18 tries.

The Sox scored their first run in the fourth on a fielder's choicethrowing error by first baseman Brett Wallace.

Houston's only run came in the when pinch-hitter Angel Sanchez singled home Wallace (leadoff double) from second base.

STAR OF THE GAME: Josh Beckett
Beckett turned in another gem, limiting the Astros to a single run over eight innings, but until the Red Sox rallied in the top of the ninth, he stood to take a tough-luck no decision.

Named to the All-Star team earlier in the day, Beckett struck out a season-high 11 and allowed just five hits -- four of them singles.

HONORABLE MENTION: Kevin Youkilis
If nothing else, Youkilis had an eventful day.

He singled and scored the first run in the fourth, getting spiked by Houston catcher Carlos Corporan in the process.

In the ninth, after the Astros walked Adrian Gonzalez, Youkilis worked had a bases-loaded walk to force in the winning run.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Mark Melancon
Melancon walked pinch-hitter Drew Sutton to start trouble for the Astros in the ninth, and after a single, fielder's choice and an intentional walk, walked Youkilis to lose the game for Houston.

TURNING POINT
In a 1-1 game in the bottom of the eighth, Beckett allowed a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Jeff Keppinger, and when Michael Bourn got down a sacrifice bunt, the Astros had the potential go-ahead run in scoring position.

But Beckett got Clint Barmes to ground out, then retired Hunter Pence on a flyout to center, setting the stage for the Sox' ninth-inning heroics.

BY THE NUMBERS
Josh Beckett had his 9th straight start of six-plus innings during which he's allowed five or fewer hits, the longest streak in franchise history.

QUOTE OF NOTE
"Yes.'' Terry Francona's succinct answer after being asked if he was glad to be through with interleague play for the season.

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

Saturday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Young in LF, Hill at 3B vs. KC lefty Duffy

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Saturday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Young in LF, Hill at 3B vs. KC lefty Duffy

The Red Sox look to end their three-game losing streak tonight when the play the middle game of their three-game series with the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park.

Against Royals' left-hander Danny Duffy (11-1, 2.66 ERA), the Red Sox start right-handed hitters Chris Young in left field and Aaron Hill at third base. Duffy has won his past 10 decisions and came into Saturday with the fifth-best ERA in the American League. He joined the rotation from the bullpen on June 1.

Left-hander David Price (12-8, 4.00) gets the start for the Red Sox. Price has won his past three decisions, going eight, six and eight innings and not allowing more than three runs in each start. 

The Royals won the series opener 6-3 Friday night.

The lineups:

ROYALS
Paulo Orlando CF
Cheslor Cuthbert 3B
Lorenzo Cain RF
Eric Hosmer 1B
Kendrys Morales DH
Salvador Perez C
Alex Gordon LF
Alcides Escobar SS
Christian Colon 2B
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Danny Duffy LHP

RED SOX
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Sandy Leon C
Chris Young LF
Aaron Hill 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
---
David Price LHP

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.