With a well-placed ground ball up the middle, James Loney showed he can fit in at Fenway Park – just like Chavez Ravine.
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Loney hit a tying single in his Boston debut, Jacoby Ellsbury drove in the go-ahead run an inning later and the revamped Red Sox bounced back from a nine-player trade and a 12-inning loss to beat the Kansas City Royals 8-6 on Sunday.
”I’m glad I’m here. It’s one of the best atmospheres in baseball,” Loney said after getting his first AL hit in his first game following the deal that brought him to Boston. ”It felt good getting that opportunity, having a chance to deliver. I just want to keep that up.”
A day after he was the only major leaguer coming to Boston in a deal that sent Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Nick Punto and more than $250 million in salary to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Loney went 1 for 5. Pedro Ciriaco had three hits, scored twice and drove in two runs for the Red Sox, who won for just the fourth time in 12 games.
Loney also made a nice pickup at first base on a short-hop throw from third baseman Ciriaco, but grounded into a rally-ending double play in the bottom half.
Pedro Beato (1-0) allowed two runs in two-plus innings but got the win on the same day he was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket. Mark Melancon pitched the ninth for his first save.
Will Smith (4-6) allowed five runs – four earned – and nine hits in five-plus innings for Kansas City.
Lorenzo Cain hit a three-run homer as the Royals scored four times with two outs in the fourth to take a 4-2 lead.
”That’s the mark of a team that battles, those two-out rallies,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. ”I don’t know if I’d rather have bases loaded with no outs or bases loaded and two outs. We seem to score more runs. We had an opportunity to score a lot more there.”
Ciriaco hit a solo homer in the fifth, then Ellsbury singled, advanced on a grounder, stole third and scored on Loney’s single to center. Ellsbury’s RBI single in the sixth – after the first of two costly errors by shortstop Alcides Escobar – gave the Red Sox the lead.
”I’m trying to field the ball in front of me,” Escobar said. ”It’s hard for me right now. I try to play hard with my defense. I know I can hit right now. I feel really bad right now, two errors in one game is bad for me.”
It was 7-4 in the seventh when the Royals loaded the bases with nobody out to chase Beato. Craig Breslow came in and struck out Johnny Giavotella before Eric Hosmer hit a sinking liner that right fielder Cody Ross lost in the sun.
He charged in, ducked, and at the last minute stabbed out his right arm to make the catch; Billy Butler scored from third to make it 7-5, but Ross, as he fell, hit the cutoff man with just enough force to keep the other runners from advancing.
Tony Abreu singled in another run, then Cain struck out looking to end the threat.
Dustin Pedroia added a solo homer in the eighth for Boston.
Boston starter Felix Doubront, who was activated from the disabled list (bruised right knee), struck out seven in five innings, but was charged with four runs and six hits. He is winless in his last five starts.
NOTES: Red Sox DH David Ortiz sat out his second straight game, having played just once since coming off the disabled list after being sidelined with a right Achilles tendon strain. … The Red Sox also optioned OF Che-Hsuan Lin to Pawtucket. … Each team committed two errors, but Boston’s miscues by Ciriaco and C Ryan Lavarnway did not lead to any runs. Escobar made both of Kansas City’s, leading to a total of three unearned runs.