By JIMMY GOLEN  AP Sports Writer
BOSTON (AP) _ Billy Butler hit a three-run homer and Luke
Hochevar pitched seven strong innings Thursday to lead the Kansas
City Royals to a 4-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox.

Hochevar (7-8) allowed two runs on six hits and a walk while
matching his season high for strikeouts with six. He retired 14 of
the last 16 batters he faced and gave up just one extra-base hit, a
third inning double by Yamaico Navarro.

Hochevar left with a 4-2 lead, and Dustin Pedroia led off the
eighth with a high home run over the Green Monster on a 3-2 pitch
from Greg Holland. But Holland got Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis
and David Ortiz on groundouts to end the inning, and Joakim Soria
came on to pitch the ninth.

With one out, Drew Sutton lined a hit off Soria’s glove for a
single, then pinch-hitter Carl Crawford hit a long fly ball that
turned right-fielder Jeff Francoeur around before he made a basket
catch on the warning track. Soria struck out Navarro to earn his
19th save.

Josh Beckett (9-4) lost for the first time in a month, giving up
four runs on six hits and three walks while striking out eight. The
Red Sox had won six of their last seven games to move to a
season-high three games ahead of the second-place New York Yankees
in the AL East before Thursday’s loss.

Boston took a 2-0 lead in the third when Jason Varitek singled,
Navarro doubled and they both scored on a single by Jacoby
Ellsbury. But the Royals went ahead in the fourth when Beckett gave
up back-to-back walks to start the inning and Butler followed with
his 10th homer of the season, to straightaway center field. One out
later, Beckett gave up back-to-back doubles to Jeff Francoeur and
Mike Moustakas to make it 4-2.

Pedroia led off the eighth inning with a home run over the Green
Monster to cut the lead to one run and extend his hitting streak to
25 games; he has reached base in 37 consecutive games.

Notes: Hosmer, a rookie, extended his hitting streak to 10 games
with a single to lead off the second. … The Red Sox went without
a hit from Gonzalez’s single in the third until Drew Sutton led off
the seventh with a blooper to center. … Pedroia’s hitting streak
is the longest ever for a Red Sox second baseman

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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