Kansas City (37-50) at Boston (53-34)

Light Rain Currently: Boston, MA
Temp: 47° F
  • Game info: 1:35 pm EDT Sun Jul 12, 2009
  • TV: FSKC, NESN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Josh Beckett(notes) has proven how much he enjoys pitching at Fenway Park.

He’ll try to remain unbeaten at home as he attempts to notch his 11th win Sunday when the Boston Red Sox try to capture a four-game series against the Kansas City Royals.

Beckett (10-3, 3.62 ERA) can join teammate Tim Wakefield(notes) and Colorado’s Jason Marquis(notes) as the only 11-game winners in the majors. Based on his results at home, there’s a good chance that will happen Sunday.

The right-hander is 5-0 with a 2.85 ERA in eight starts at Fenway, where he has yielded two earned runs over his last 29 2-3 innings. He gave up both of those runs Tuesday in 6 2-3 innings to earn a 5-2 victory over Oakland.

“I love pitching here,” Beckett said. “It’s awesome to pitch in front of a full house every night.”

Beckett is 3-0 with a 2.41 ERA in five career starts against the Royals. The All-Star is also 8-1 with a 2.38 ERA in 12 outings since he went 2-2 with a 7.22 ERA in five starts in April.

Boston (53-34) lost Thursday’s series opener to fall into a tie with the New York Yankees atop the AL East. The Red Sox have responded to win the next two games to ensure they will head into the All-Star break in sole possession of the division lead, having rebuilt a two-game edge on the Yankees.

After Jon Lester(notes) threw eight stellar innings in a 1-0 victory on Friday, the Red Sox hit four homers in a 15-9 win Saturday. Kevin Youkilis(notes) homered twice and David Ortiz(notes) and Jason Varitek(notes) also went deep as Boston finished with its second-highest run total this year to help John Smoltz(notes) earn his first win with the club.

“It’s just one of those nights where we had to keep battling,” Youkilis said. “You’re going to have times where the hitting is better than the pitching, but we need our pitching to be better than our hitting over the long haul.”

Ortiz continued his recent surge. Mired in a slump through most of the season, the slugger has seven homers and 18 RBIs over his last 18 games.

Kansas City (37-50) committed three errors and lost for the eighth time in 12 games despite homers from Jose Guillen(notes) and Mike Jacobs(notes). Billy Butler(notes) added three hits and three RBIs as the Royals fell for the first time in 11 games when scoring at least eight runs.

The Royals will give Bruce Chen(notes) (0-3, 6.88) his fourth start of the season. Chen joined the rotation June 27 for his first major league start in nearly three years in place of a struggling Kyle Davies(notes).

Chen hasn’t fared much better in losing all three of his outings. He yielded seven runs over 4 2-3 innings Tuesday in an 8-5 loss at Detroit.

The left-hander, who made five appearances for Boston in 2003, is 2-3 with a 5.01 ERA in six career starts versus the Red Sox.

Varitek is 6 for 14 with two homers and five RBIs lifetime against Chen.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Chen Cle vs. J. Beckett LAD
1-6 Record 17-6
5.78 ERA 3.86
45 K 199
25 BB 55
1.59 WHIP 1.19

Scoreboard

Sunday, Jul 12