Feeling good after a three-game road sweep of the best team in the majors, the Boston Red Sox couldn’t keep the momentum going at home against one of the league’s perennial doormats.
An 11-3 blowout victory at Tampa Bay on Wednesday had given the Red Sox (27-22) a season-best five-game winning streak and eight wins in their last nine, but they couldn’t overcome eight walks in 4 2-3 innings by starter Daisuke Matsuzaka(notes) in Thursday’s 4-3 loss to the Royals.
Even though Boston’s recent surge has come against three straight first-place opponents, catcher Jason Varitek(notes) said it wasn’t necessarily disappointing to lose to the team with the worst record in the majors since the start of 2004.
“That’s a really good team with some real good pitching,” Varitek told his team’s official website. “If we went out and played horribly, you could say that. I don’t think we played bad. We just were a run short.”
A bevy of injuries may be catching up with Boston, which played without catcher Victor Martinez(notes) and outfielders Mike Cameron(notes) and Jacoby Ellsbury(notes). It’s unclear if any of the three will return Friday.
Wakefield (1-2, 4.44 ERA) is in the rotation in place of injured ace Josh Beckett(notes). The 43-year-old picked up his first win of 2010 on Sunday, outdueling Philadelphia ace Roy Halladay(notes) with eight shutout innings in an 8-3 victory.
“I had a pretty good feel with everything and our offense did a good job,” Wakefield said.
The knuckleballer was also in line for a win at Kansas City on April 9, when he gave up two runs in seven innings, but Boston’s bullpen allowed two runs in the eighth inning of a 4-3 defeat.
The Royals’ relievers were perfect on Thursday, retiring all nine batters they faced to close out the club’s second straight victory and third consecutive road win.
Kansas City (20-28) has gone 8-5 overall under manager Ned Yost after Trey Hillman was fired May 13.
Kyle Davies(notes) (3-3, 4.53) has also been pitching well, holding five of his last six opponents to two or fewer runs. He was a tough-luck loser Saturday against Colorado, allowing one run in six innings of the Royals’ 3-0 defeat.
“I was real impressed with the way he went out and attacked and changed speeds,” Yost told the Royals’ official website. “He looked like a big-league pitcher out there.”
The right-hander has also been sharp against Boston, going 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in two career starts. He also opposed Wakefield last month, allowing three runs in six innings.
He’ll hope to pitch the Royals to their first back-to-back wins at Fenway Park since July 17-18, 2007. They’re 7-20 overall at Boston since the start of 2003.
The Red Sox have a disappointing 14-12 home record in 2010 after going 56-25 there each of the last two seasons.