Billy Butler's HR Helps Luke Hochevar, Royals Edge Red Sox
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 five 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. After Francoeur reached on a two-base error, Beckett gave up Mike Moustakas' RBI double 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.