• Hero: Beckett only went five innings on a chilly evening, but the Royals couldn't hit him.
-- ESPN.com news services
Red Sox 7, Royals 1
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- When Gold Glove third baseman Mike
Lowell committed errors on consecutive ground balls, Josh Beckett
figured it was time for payback.
"As many times as he's picked me up in my career, I wanted to
pick him up so bad," the Boston right-hander said. "That's why I
was so pumped when we got that last out."
With the help of a fine running catch by right fielder J.D.
Drew, Beckett and the Red Sox escaped damage in Lowell's
third-inning meltdown and went on to a 7-1 victory over Kansas City
on a cold Wednesday night.
"I have no one to blame but myself," said Lowell, who also had
a throwing error with two out in the ninth. "Everyone's playing
under the same conditions. There were plenty of plays made out
there. I didn't do it. I can't give you anything cool."
The three errors were exactly half the number Lowell committed
in 153 games in 2006 when he tied the NL record for third basemen
with at least 135 games played. His .977 fielding percentage coming
into the season was tops among major league third baseman with at
least 1,000 games.
With one out and two on courtesy of Lowell's balky glove,
Beckett came back from a 3-0 count to strike out Mark Teahen. Then
Mike Sweeney hit a slicing line drive into the right-center gap
that the swift Drew ran down to end the inning.
"I almost kissed J.D. Drew after he made that play in the
gap," Lowell said.
"I can deal with errors. that's part of the game. But when runs
come in after that you really feel bad. J.D. made a great play.
It's part of the game, guys picking each other up. It made me feel
a lot better.
"J.D. came in and I said, `No one loves you more than me right
Drew and Lowell hit back-to-back doubles in a three-run first
inning and Kevin Youkilis added a two-run home run off reliever
Todd Wellemeyer in the seventh to make it 6-1 as the temperature
dipped to 39 degrees.
Julio Lugo had an RBI single for Boston in the eighth.
Beckett (1-0) allowed a two-out double to Teahen in the first
and a two-out double to Ross Gload in the fourth. He had five
strikeouts and four walks while delivering Boston's first win after
Curt Schilling faltered in Monday's season opener. Jason LaRue got
the Royals' RBI on a sacrifice fly in the fourth.
After giving up three runs in the first, Odalis Perez (0-1)
retired 13 of 15 before walking Manny Ramirez with one out in the
sixth. After Drew singled, rookie Joakim Soria made his major
league debut and surrendered a sacrifice fly to Jason Varitek that
put the Red Sox on top 4-1.
Drew's RBI double in the first was followed by Lowell's two-run
Jason LaRue had a sacrifice fly for the Royals in the fourth.
It's been a rough two games for Royals rookie third baseman Alex
Gordon. The 2006 minor league player of the year is 0-for-7 with
four strikeouts and hasn't hit a ball out of the infield.
"This kid's going to be a heck of a player," said Royals
manager Buddy Bell. "He's trying like the devil to get his first
hit. A lot of us have been there. Once he gets that out of the way,
he'll be fine. But he's played great at third. He's very, very hard
on himself and sometimes that might get in your way but eventually
it pays off in the end."
The Royals placed RHP closer Octavio Dotel on the 15-day DL
with a strained muscle on his left side. Manager Buddy Bell said
the problem isn't considered long-term. RHP David Riske will close
in his absence. ... The game-time temperature of 42 degrees was
more than 30 degrees colder than the reading for Monday afternoon's
sunny season opener. ... The only other time Lowell had two errors
in an inning was on July 1, 2005.