KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Bruce Chen outdueled Jon Lester as the Kansas City Royals defeated the Boston Red Sox 5-1 on Thursday night.
The Royals won for the 16th time in 20 games since the All-Star break. The Red Sox, who have the best record in the American League, lost for only the third time in 10 games.
Chen, who was making his fifth start since beginning the season in the bullpen, did not allow a runner past first base until the eighth and retired 11 in a row in one stretch. He gave up five singles, walked one and struck out two before leaving with two outs in the eighth inning.
Luke Hochevar got the final four outs for his second career save.
Lester (10-7), who came into the game with a 6-2 record and 1.64 ERA in nine starts against the Royals, needed 41 pitches in the first inning when Kansas City sent eight men to the plate and scored three runs.
A Jonny Gomes’ fielding error on Alex Gordon’s fly to left made two of the runs unearned. Lorenzo Cain, who opened the inning a double, scored on Gomes’ misplay.
Mike Moustakas’ two-out single to right with the bases loaded scored Billy Butler and Gordon to make it 3-0.
Rubby De La Rosa replaced Lester in the eighth and Butler hit his first pitch out to center for his 10th home run. Justin Maxwell homered with two outs to make it 5-0.
Lester, who was roughed up for six runs and 11 hits in 4 1-3 innings by Arizona in his previous start, shut down the Royals after the first, allowing just two more singles in seven innings.
Stephen Drew, who had two hits to extend his hitting streak to a season high nine games, singled home Gomes in the ninth for the only Red Sox run.
Notes: The Royals optioned LHP Danny Duffy to Triple-A Omaha and purchased the contract of LHP Francisley Bueno from their Pacific Coast League affiliate. … Daniel Nava came off the paternity leave list and started at first base for the Red Sox, who optioned RHP Steven Wright to Triple-A Pawtucket. … DH David Ortiz, who had started 95 games, was not in the Red Sox lineup. “It’s not injury related,” manager John Farrell said. “It’s just a day. Truth be told, we’d expected more off days overall than he has been.” … Red Sox RHP Clay Buchholz, who went on the disabled list June 18 with a neck strain, is scheduled to throw 25-30 pitches off the mound Saturday.
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