Red Sox-Royals Preview

The Associated Press

Despite playing the equivalent of nearly two full games the day before, the Boston Red Sox showed few signs of fatigue during their series opener against the Kansas City Royals.

After ending a five-game skid, the Red Sox will try to keep heading in the right direction Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Boston went 17 innings during a 9-6 home loss to Baltimore on Sunday and played 39 innings over the three-game series with the Orioles. The Red Sox, though, had enough energy to score four runs in the opening frame Monday night in Kansas City with Will Middlebrooks driving in three on his second homer in as many days.

Middlebrooks added a two-run shot in the eighth inning of the 11-5 win and is 8 for 21 with three homers and nine RBIs over his first four major league games.

"I just tried to carry over the way I started out this year," said Middlebrooks, who was batting .333 at Triple-A Pawtucket before being called up Wednesday. "Just wanted to help the team win."

Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz also went deep for the Red Sox (12-16). Their four homers were one shy of matching a season high set against Tampa Bay on April 14 and their 16 hits were two away from tying their most so far.

"I'm proud of these guys, taking that flight here after that game last night," manager Bobby Valentine said. "I know we're talking about small victories, but it's not easy to do what they did."

Boston will try to keep rolling against Danny Duffy (2-2, 3.57 ERA), but the left-hander is coming off a solid outing against another good offense. Duffy allowed two runs over 5 1-3 innings Thursday while helping the Royals end a franchise-worst 0-10 start at home in a 4-3 win over the New York Yankees.

"It's awesome, such a great feeling after such a bad stretch at home to have people coming in the door and smiling," Duffy told the team's official website.

The Royals (9-19) are 2-13 at Kauffman this season and have lost back-to-back games after winning six of nine overall.

Duffy lasted only 3 2-3 innings while surrendering six runs in a loss at Fenway Park in July, but pitched better at home a month later. He gave up two runs and five hits over six innings during a 6-1 loss Aug. 21.

The Red Sox will counter with Daniel Bard (2-3, 4.38), who had a two-game win streak snapped Wednesday. The right-hander allowed four runs over 5 1-3 innings in a 4-2 loss to Oakland.

"I just had a hard time putting guys away," he told the team's official website.

Bard has a 2.61 ERA in nine relief appearances against the Royals.

During his first matchup as a starter, Bard will try to help deliver the Red Sox's eighth road win in nine games and their ninth over the last 11 contests in Kansas City.

Pedroia, meanwhile, will try to improve on his .343 batting average over the last 15 games and extend his hit streak to nine. The second baseman is 12 for 35 over his last eight contests and 2 for 5 in his career against Duffy.

Ortiz has doubled in both at-bats versus the left-hander.

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