Royals snap Boston win streak

Brian Bannister did everything he could to stop Boston’s winning

streak.

Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka kind of did, too. David

DeJesus drove in a pair of runs for the Royals in their 4-3 win

over Boston on Thursday night.

Boston’s five-game winning streak came to an end against one of

baseball’s worst teams a day after the Red Sox finished a

three-game sweep at Tampa Bay, which has the best record in the big

leagues at 33-15.

Matsuzaka (3-2) walked a season-high eight while allowing three

runs over 4 2-3 innings, in his first start since a no-hit bid

against the Phillies was broken up with two outs in the eighth.

“He’s the most relaxed one out there and we are all on the edge

of our seats,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “Obviously

eight walks, a hit batter and a wild pitch … it is a hard way to

be successful.”

Bannister (4-3) gave up three runs on nine hits and struck out

four while winning his third straight. He won for the first time in

five decisions against the Red Sox.

“I haven’t won here so it is good to get over that hump,”

Bannister said. “This is how it is supposed to look … the ‘pen

did their job, we fielded well and we hit well.”

Joakim Soria pitched a perfect ninth for his 12th save.

After working his way out of a bases-loaded jam with no outs in

the fourth inning without allowing a run, Matsuzaka completely fell

apart in the fifth.

He walked five batters – a career high – in the inning,

sandwiched around an RBI single by DeJesus.

“We had the bases loaded and Matsuzaka made some good pitches,

but I told them to come back in next inning and load them up again

and they did,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “We knew the Red Sox

had been hot, but we feel pretty good about ourselves and it

showed.”

The Royals added two more runs in the inning. Billy Butler

scored on a wild pitch and an RBI walk by Jose Guillen. Joe Nelson

relieved Matsuzaka and retired Jason Kendall.

“I don’t know what the answer is, but we will continue to try

and figure it out,” Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek said. “He was

obviously struggling with his command.”

Boston went ahead 1-0 in the fourth inning on an RBI single by

Adrian Beltre that was set up when J.D. Drew’s double-play grounder

bounced up and hit second-base umpire Paul Schrieber on the

chest.

Bill Hall led off the fifth inning with his fourth home run of

the season to cut the Royals’ lead to 3-2, but DeJesus increased

the lead for K.C. to 4-2 when he doubled off the left field wall to

drive home Mike Aviles in the sixth.

Varitek added an RBI double in the bottom half of the sixth.

Notes: Joe West was the home plate umpire. It was his first game

at Fenway Park since complaining about the length of games between

the Red Sox and Yankees. Time of game was 3 hours, 3 minutes. …

Youkilis has now reached base in 26 consecutive games.