BOSTON (AP) - The Kansas City Royals' starting pitcher has to find a way to cool off the hot hitting Boston Red Sox.
For the second straight night, the Royals' offense got going early before their starter blew another lead and got hammered by the Red Sox, losing 12-5 on Wednesday night.
``It was just another one of those games where we got our brains beat in,' right fielder Jeff Francoeur said. ``But its good to see, offensively, were swinging the bats well.'
David Ortiz hit a grand slam to cap a five-run fourth inning and Dustin Pedroia extended his career-best hitting streak to 24 games with a solo homer for the Red Sox, who scored 10 runs in four innings against starter Bruce Chen (5-4).
``Bruce, a guy who usually throws strikes, for some reason just couldn't find the strike zone tonight. But, at the end of the day, we have a chance to come out tomorrow and get a split, which isn't bad,' Francoeur said.
Kansas City won the series opener, 3-1, in 14 innings on Monday. The teams play the finale Thursday afternoon.
``That's a pretty good offensive team, but commanding the ball is commanding the ball,' Royals manager Ned Yost said. ``You command the ball and they hit it, OK. But when you're behind in the count, throwing 114 pitches in four innings and 100-something in three innings last night, it's us.'
On Tuesday, starter Danny Duffy lasted just 3 2-3 innings, giving up six runs.
Jacoby Ellsbury homered leading off the first inning for the Red Sox, who won for the 19th time in 23 games and scored in double digits for the second straight night.
Pedroia, who went 4 for 5 in Tuesday's 13-9 win, added two singles and a sacrifice fly. Adrian Gonzalez had three hits and three RBIs to raise his major-league leading total to 87.
Eric Hosmer hit a three-run homer and Billy Butler added a solo shot for the Royals, who blew three leads on Tuesday.
After Hosmer's homer put the Royals up 3-0 in the first, Boston scored two runs in the bottom of the inning and three in the second before breaking it open in the fourth against starter Chen.
Chen was tagged for 10 hits - with three homers and a double - in four innings.
``Obviously, I fell behind in the count a lot of times and theyre a good-hitting club and theyre going to make me throw strikes,' he said. ``I just didnt have it today and got beat.'
John Lackey (9-8) won his fourth straight start, allowing four runs - three earned - and 11 hits, walking one and striking out three in 5 2-3 innings.
Boston had 16 hits, reaching double digits for the 11th straight home game.
Ellsbury and Pedroia, Boston's first two batters, homered. It was the first time since July 21, 1995, that the first two Red Sox homered.
Ellsbury's caromed off the Pesky Pole in right and Pedroia hit his into the Green Monster seats, extending his career-best streak, the longest by a second baseman in club history.
In the second, Ellsbury drew a bases-loaded walk, Pedroia had a sacrifice fly and Gonzalez's run-scoring grounder made it 5-3.
The Red Sox broke it open with the five-run fourth that was highlighted by Ortiz's slam. Pedroia, Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis singled before Ortiz belted his 10th career slam - ninth with the Red Sox - over Boston's bullpen, tying him with Rico Petrocelli for second all-time in club history behind Ted Williams' 17. Yamaico Navarro had an RBI single earlier in the inning.
With the slam, Ortiz reached 1,000 RBIs with Boston.
Bulter's homer made it 10-4 in the fifth.
Notes: Pedroia's hitting streak is the AL's longest this season. He broke a tie with Del Pratt's 23-gamer in 1922. ... Gordon had a career-high three doubles. ... Red Sox 3B Youkilis, who missed Tuesday's game with a strained right hamstring, was not in the original lineup but came in and told manager Terry Francona he felt fine. ``He came in and said `There's no reason for me not to play,'' Francona said. ... Hosmer came into the game 15 for 30 in the last seven. ... Boston third-base coach Tim Bogar was hit in the back of the helmet's by Pedroia's foul liner in the second, sending the helmet flying, but he put it back on, smiled and didn't need to be checked out on the field. ... Chen had allowed one run or less in three of his five starts since coming off the DL on June 24. ... Francona rested struggling LF Carl Crawford with the lefty Chen starting. ``It was a good night,' the manager said. ``He hasn't had much success against this guy.' Crawford was 1 for 11 in the first two games of the series, 0 for 6 with four strikeouts Monday.
The Associated Press News Service
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