BOSTON | This series at Fenway Park can’t end soon enough for the Royals. Wednesday night brought more frustration — meaning another feeble offensive display — in a 6-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
That makes three straight losses in a four-game series that concludes this afternoon with unbeaten Daisuke Matsuzaka as the awaiting mound opponent.
That hardly seems encouraging — does it? — after watching the Royals suffer a no-hitter Monday by Jon Lester and manage little the next two games against minor-league callups.
It was veteran Bartolo Colon on Wednesday in his 2008 debut after making three tune-up starts at Class AAA Pawtucket. Boston signed Colon, 35, on Feb. 25 after he battled injuries the last two years with the Angels after winning the 2005 Cy Young Award.
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This wasn’t a Cy Young Colon, but it was good enough. He gave up two runs and six hits in five innings before handing a three-run lead to the bullpen.
Craig Hansen, Javier Lopez, Manny Delcarmen and Mike Timlin closed out the victory by pitching once inning apiece. Timlin gave up one run in the ninth.
Royals starter Brett Tomko fell to 2-5 after allowing five runs and seven hits in just 4 1/3 innings. It all fell apart in a hurry, too.
Tomko seemed to steady himself after allowing a leadoff homer in the first inning to Jacoby Ellsbury. Tomko carried a 2-1 lead into the fifth before he yielded a game-tying homer to Jason Varitek and three more hits before departing.
Boston had a 5-2 lead before Ron Mahay could end the inning.
The Royals never really recovered and fell to 21-25.
Boston finished with 12 hits, including three apiece from Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia. Five different players drove in runs. It really didn’t matter that David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez were each zero for three and combined to strand five runners.
Joey Gathright returned to the lineup after missing three games because of a sore shoulder and went two for two with two walks. He scored all three runs. David DeJesus had three hits.
The Royals wasted a first-and-second scoring opportunity in the first inning before falling into a 1-0 hole when Ellsbury opened the Boston first with his fourth home run.
Pedroia followed with a single, but Tomko avoided further damage by retiring Ortiz on a pop and getting Ramirez to ground into a double play. Tomko also pitched around Mike Lowell’s leadoff double in the second.
That positioned the Royals to pull even in the third after Gathright led off with a single. Alex Gordon worked a two-out walk before José Guillen sent a seeing-eye single up the middle.
Guillen’s single broke a zero-for-eight skid, with five strikeouts, that followed his selection Monday afternoon as the American League player of the week.
Gathright scored again after opening the fifth with a bunt single by avoiding the tag of first baseman Kevin Youkilis. DeJesus followed with a looping single to left before Mark Grudzielanek moved the runners to second and third with a sacrifice.
Gordon pulled an RBI single into right for a 2-1 lead.
The Royals missed the chance for a bigger inning when Guillen popped out and Mark Teahen took a third strike.
That inability to score DeJesus from third with less than two outs proved costly almost immediately when Varitek hit a one-out homer in the Boston fifth.
It was the first of four straight hits that would knock out Tomko.
Coco Crisp followed with a double, went to third on a wild pitch before Julio Lugo punched a single into center through a drawn-in infield.
The Red Sox led 3-2.
When Ellsbury singled to left, Royals manager Trey Hillman yanked Tomko for Mahay. The hit parade continued when Pedroia lined a single to right that loaded the bases.
Ortiz extended the lead to 4-2 with a sacrifice fly. A Mahay wild pitch made it 5-2 before he struck out Ramirez.