Bruce Chen kept the ball in the yard, while the Boston Red Sox kept popping up and flying out. Chen retired 15 of the 23 outs he recorded on fly-balls as he outpitched Jon Lester for a Royals’ 5-1 victory in the first of four between these two hot teams. The Royals have won 16 out of 20 since the All-Star break and the Sox, who have the best record in the American League, lost for just the third time in 10 games.
Chen was making his fifth start since beginning the season in the bullpen, and never allowed a runner past first base until the eighth and at one point, retired 11 in a row. He allowed just five singles and one walk and added two strike outs. Luke Hochevar got the final four outs for his second career save.
What helped Chen was that the Royals jumped on Lester in the first inning. A Jonny Gomes’ fielding error on Alex Gordon’s flyball to left scored Lorenzo Cain who opened with a double. Mike Moustakas’ two-out single to right with the bases loaded scored Billy Butler and Gordon to make it 3-0. Butler and newcomer Justin Maxwell, acquired from Houston, homered in the eighth.