After the Royals' 6-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Thursday
night, a fan interrupted Kansas City manager Ned Yost's postgame
media session in the bowels of Kauffman Stadium.
"Why ain't (Billy) Butler in there?" he said to Yost in more of a
demand than a question.
A startled Yost laughed before answering.
"(Josh) Willingham has been giving us better at-bats," Yost replied.
"Billy will probably be in there tomorrow, though."
Royals fans have reasons to be distressed. The club has not made the
playoffs since 1985, the longest playoff drought in North America in
the four major sports. Kansas City is in first-place in the American
League Central, but barely, after the team's third loss in four
The loss dropped the Royals' lead to a half-game over idle the
Detroit Tigers in the American League Central, and the Cleveland
Indians moved within four games by sweeping the Minnesota Twins in a
The Royals committed three errors in the first four innings, leading
to two unearned runs. The pitchers walked five and hit a batter, and
four of those runners scored.
Kansas City lost to a last-place Red Sox club that came to town with
a four-game losing streak and to a pitcher, Clay Buchholz, with an
ERA north of 5.00.
Buchholz pitched effectively into the seventh inning, and Boston
designated hitter David Ortiz drove in his 99th run.
Buchholz (8-8) muted the Royals on six hits and three runs (two
earned) in 6 1/3 innings while striking out seven and walking three.
His curveball was excellent.
"It was a pitch I definitely needed to have any chance of winning
the game tonight or staying out there for a while," Buchholz said.
"Overall command was pretty good. I missed today with a couple more
pitches than I have the last couple times out, but got away with
In winning his past three starts, Buchholz has allowed four earned
runs in 22 1/3 innings. Buchholz has won his past six starts against
the Royals dating to 2010.
"For the most part, I feel as good as I've felt all year, and it
takes confidence to go out there and throw pitches in big situations
and make good pitches with those, and that's what I feel like I've
been doing," Buchholz said.
The Royals cut the Red Sox lead to 4-3 in the sixth inning on center
fielder Lorenzo Cain's two-out, run-producing single.
Boston second baseman Jemile Weeks answered in the eighth inning
with a two-run, two-out double down the first base line, scoring
third baseman Will Middlebrooks and catcher Christian Vazquez, who
both reached on walks by right-hander Aaron Crow.
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Red Sox right-hander Edward Mujica worked a spotless ninth inning
to log his fifth save in six opportunities.
"It was kind of both
sides capitalizing on an errant throw or a hit by pitch," Red Sox
manager John Farrell said. "We clipped Willingham with a 2-2
changeup. He ends up scoring. Any time you give a club an extra out,
you're likely walking a tight wire, and that was the case on both
Royals right-hander Liam Hendriks (1-2) was pulled after retiring
only seven of the 15 batters he faced and throwing only 37 of 65
pitches for strikes. He walked two, including first baseman Mike
Napoli with the bases loaded in the third inning, and hit a batter.
"It wasn't acceptable," Hendriks said. "It was a very frustrating
outing. I felt fine, really good. I felt like I was throwing the
ball well, movement was good. I decided to aim the ball and got
behind guys, and you can't do that to this lineup. For me, anytime
you leave before six or seven, it's frustrating. You didn't do your
Hendriks was filling in for left-hander Danny Duffy, who was skipped
a start due to a sore shoulder. If Duffy can't make his next start,
Hendriks would like to get the call.
"Hopefully, I do get another start and can rectify this and do a
helluva lot better than I did today," Hendriks said.
NOTES: Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia had season-ending left wrist
surgery Thursday. It was the third consecutive year that Pedroia has
required wrist or hand surgery. He hit .278 with 40 extra-base hits
in 551 at-bats. Jemile Weeks started in Pedroia's place and went
1-for-4 with a two-run double. ... Royals RHP Greg Holland, who did
not pitch on the just-concluded six-game trip to New York and
Boston, said he was fine to pitch Thursday if needed. ... Kansas
City LHP Danny Duffy said he hopes to resume playing catch in the
next day or two. ... Who are these guys? Only four Red Sox position
players -- SS Xander Bogaerts, DH David Ortiz, 1B Mike Napoli and 3B
Will Middlebrooks -- participated in the 2013 World Series. ...
Royals RHP Yordano Ventura, who starts Friday, leads major league
rookies with 19 quality starts, including each of his past seven
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