Royals 4, Red Sox 3

Bruce Chen can relax a bit – he’s in the win column.

Chen, the Royals’ opening day starter, picked up his first

victory of the season Wednesday night as Kansas City held off the

Boston Red Sox 4-3.

Alcides Escobar drove in the go-ahead run as the Royals solved

Jon Lester for the first time in a while. Jonathan Broxton worked

around a leadoff single and walk in the ninth inning for his

seventh save in eight opportunities.

The Royals were winless in Chen’s first six starts this year,

although he had been pitching deep into games.

”You try not to think about it,” Chen said. ”You try not to

let it bother you, but at the end of the day you have no wins and

it’s almost the middle of May.

”I know I’ve been pitching well. I didn’t worry. I didn’t try

to do too much. I trust my stuff, my teammates. Today was a huge

win. Even though it’s in the win column for me, but I feel like the

whole team contributed.”

The Royals finished 4-3 on their homestand against Boston and

the New York Yankees. The Red Sox have lost seven of eight.

Chen (1-4) gave up three runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings

while striking out five and walking none.

”That’s the first time in a long time I felt like we were

firing on all cylinders, facing a guy that’s been extremely tough

on us,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.

”Clutch hitting, clutch pitching. I thought Bruce threw a

tremendous game. They had seven hits and five were off the end of

the bat or jam shots that just found holes or hit the line. And to

get four runs off Jon Lester was huge. It was good to finally beat

him. He’s a guy who has handled us for a long time,” he said.

The Royals beat Lester (1-3) for the first time since Aug. 8,

2006. The left-hander came into the game with a 5-1 record and 1.30

ERA in seven career starts against Kansas City, including a

no-hitter in 2008.

Escobar’s double in the fourth Irving Falu, who led off the

inning with a double, to put the Royals ahead 4-3.

Lester’s pitch count rose early with a 38-pitch first inning,

but 12 of those were after center fielder Marlon Byrd’s error led

to three unearned runs.

Lester was pulled after 108 pitches and five innings, giving up

four runs on six hits and a walk.

In the first inning, Byrd misjudged Johnny Giavotella’s two-out

liner and the ball ricocheted off his glove as he jumped for it.

The misplay allowed Billy Butler, who had walked, to score.

Brayan Pena then hit a two-run double to left-center that Cody

Ross nearly caught. Ross had his glove on the ball, but it came

loose and hit the wall. Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine debated

Ross held onto the ball long enough – the umpires held a conference

on the field, but did not change the ruling.

”It hit his glove, then popped out and bounced off the wall,”

Valentine said. ”It’s not a catch unless you get it out of the

glove voluntarily.”

”The ball on Marlon really took off on him. It was tough on Jon

– they scored three runs. Cody went a long way, caught it and

popped out of his glove. He’s frustrated. He battled. He wanted to

go out and pitch the sixth.”

Adrian Gonzalez hit a three-run double in the Boston third,

driving in Byrd, Ryan Sweeney and Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia’s single

extended his hitting streak to a season-high 10 games.

NOTES: Chen had not beaten the Red Sox since July 9, 2005, while

with Baltimore. … The Royals called up Giavotella, who was

hitting .483 in May and .331 in 31 games with Triple-A Omaha. They

placed LHP Jonathan Sanchez on the disabled list with biceps

tendinitis. … 1B Eric Hosmer, who is hitting .111 in the past 11

games, was not in the Royals’ lineup for the first time this

season. … Boston 3B Kevin Youkilis, who is on the disabled list

with a lower back strain, is penciled in for some baseball activity

Thursday when the Red Sox return home. … OF Jeff Francoeur, who

has no home runs and five RBIs, batted cleanup for the Royals for

the first time this season.