KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Someday, Jeremy Guthrie hopes to figure out a way to handle Jacoby Ellsbury.
And that day can’t come soon enough for the Kansas City Royals’ right-hander.
Ellsbury matched a career high with four hits and drove in a pair of runs to lead the Boston Red Sox to a 5-3 win over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night.
Ellsbury had RBI-doubles in the fourth and sixth innings and also stole his major league-leading 42nd base. It was his 10th career four-hit game and second this season.
Guthrie gave up all four of hits by Ellsbury, who has a career .435 batting average, 20 for 46, off the righty.
“With his speed and his ability to put wood on the ball, he’s a tough hitter,” Guthrie said. “He’s always been very tough for me and I didn’t execute very well.”
Ellsbury can’t explain his success against Guthrie.
“I was looking at my at-bats in the past,” Ellsbury said. “Nothing really stood out. He has really good stuff and has good command. I guess it’s just one of those baseball things.”
The Red Sox scored four runs in the fourth. Will Middlebrooks, who was just recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket, fueled the rally with a two-run single. Stephen Drew drove in a run with a double, extending his hitting streak to a season-best 11 games.
The Royals answered with a three-run fifth. Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler drilled back-to-back RBI doubles and Miguel Tejada hit a two-out single.
“It was a nice little rally to get us just down one at that point,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “It gets you back to one at that point in the game. We’ve still got plenty of cracks to overcome that one.
“Their bullpen did a great job. We got a double here and a double there, but couldn’t make it count.”
Billy Butler doubled leading off the seventh and Brett Hayes doubled with one out in the eighth, but the Royals could not convert either hit into a run.
Tejada was replaced by Elliot Johnson in the seventh inning when he was injured diving for Mike Carp’s single.
“When he dove for that ball, his right calf got real, real tight,” Yost said. “We’re evaluating it now.”
Red Sox starter Felix Doubront failed to get an out in the fifth, facing four batters before being replaced by Brandon Workman. Doubront gave up three runs on six hits and four walks.
Guthrie (12-8), who had won his previous four starts, threw a season-high 123 pitches in seven innings, allowing five runs on 10 hits and a walk.
“Good teams make pitchers get high pitch counts,” Guthrie said. “I think each offense did a good job of that.”
Ellsbury drove in Middlebrooks with a sixth-inning double for the final run off Guthrie.
Workman (3-1) picked up his second victory of the week with 1 1-3 scoreless innings. Koji Uehara pitched a flawless ninth to collect his 12th save in 15 chances.
Butler had three hits, including two doubles, for the Royals, who lost for only the third time in 18 games.
NOTES: Both clubs made four roster moves before the game. The Red Sox recalled Middlebrooks, who was hitting .269 with 10 home runs for Pawtucket, and activated LHP Franklin Morales from the disabled list. They placed IF Brandon Snyder, sore right elbow, on the 15-day DL and optioned RHP Pedro Beato to Pawtucket. … The Royals placed OF Lorenzo Cain on the disabled list with a pulled left oblique. They recalled LHPs Will Smith and Donnie Joseph from Triple-A Omaha and designated for assignment LHP Francisley Bueno, who picked up the victory Friday with 2 1-3 scoreless innings against the Red Sox. … Royals RHP Wade Davis, who has been on the family emergency leave after the death of his step-brother, will be activated Sunday and will start Monday against Miami. … The Royals are optimistic C Salvador Perez, who is on the concussion list, would get the clearance to be activated Sunday. … Royals 1B Eric Hosmer went 2-for-5 and an RBI and is hitting .462 on this homestand with eight RBIs.
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