Web Analytics and Web Statistics by NextSTAT The Boston Sports Nut: Royals Knuckle under to Sox 8-2

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Royals Knuckle under to Sox 8-2

AUGUST 6, 2008. Kansas City, MO. Wakefield's floating, tantalizing signature pitch shut down the Royals on four hits through six crisp innings. Jacoby Ellsbury hit a three-run homer and also turned in a great outfield catch to spur an 8-2 victory that made the Red Sox 6-1 in their seven-game season series against Kansas City.

"It's happened before," said the 42-year-old right-hander (7-8), who had six strikeouts and no walks. "When I faced the Braves in '92, Bruce Dal Canton threw knuckleballs to the guys in batting practice." Jed Lowrie and J.D. Drew drove in two runs apiece for the Red Sox, whose only negative note on the night was the bruised and swollen right hand of first baseman Kevin Youkilis Luke Hochevar (6-10) hit Youkilis with a pitch in the first inning, loading the bases. After trainers inspected the hand, Youkilis stayed in to run, but left the game when he was doubled off first to end the inning.

"It hurts like hell still," he said. "It's swollen and bruised up."
Youkilis said he hoped to play in Chicago on Friday after an off day on Thursday.
"If I feel good, I'll play," he said. "Bottom line." Wakefield threw knuckleballs almost exclusively, tossing practically each delivery toward the plate in the 63 mph range while winning for the first time in four starts.

Ellsbury, who appears to be breaking out of a prolonged slump, was 3-for-4 with two runs and the three-run homer off left-handed Ron Mahay. He also made a diving, tumbling head-over-heels catch of Mitch Maier's popup into shallow center after Ross Gload's two-run double shaved the lead to 3-2 in the fifth.

"Unbelievable," said Wakefield. "That was a key catch to get the two outs with a runner on second. The homer wasn't bad either." If Ellsbury lets the ball fall, the Royals have two in, runners at first and third and only one out. "I got a great read on the ball," he said. "I was running in. I wasn't sure I could get to it. I dove for the ball. I'll take a great catch any day. But a three-run homer to center, I'll take that, too. The home run was pretty neat."

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