Kansas City Royals

Royals' offense mauls Red Sox

BOSTON — Who's hurting now?

Yuniesky Betancourt's grand slam capped a seven-run fourth inning Friday night that carried the Royals to a 12-5 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Betancourt's slam was merely the biggest punch in a 20-hit barrage but, please note, it came it his return to the lineup after missing two games because of a concussion.

This was, simply, an absolute bludgeoning that underscored the Royals' status as the best-hitting club — hey, look it up — in the majors. They set season highs in runs and hits, and those 20 hits are the most by the Royals in 210 all-time games in Boston.

Every Royal had at least one hit. David DeJesus matched a career high with four. Mitch Maier had three hits, including his first homer of the season. Betancourt had two singles in addition to his slam.

It could have been more. A lot more. The Royals stranded 13 runners and were 1 for 5 with the bases loaded. That one, though, was a big one. It turned a 5-5 tie into a 9-5 lead.

The Royals rolled from there in improving to 9-5 since Ned Yost replaced Trey Hillman as manager and to 21-28 overall. They have back-to-back victories at Boston for the first time in three years.

By game's end, the Red Sox had utilityman Bill Hall on the mound. The last time an opponent used a position player as a pitcher was Cleveland catcher Tim Laker on April 20, 2004.

Yep, it was some kind of night.

Royals starter Kyle Davies (4-3) was anything but sharp. He allowed five runs in five innings and still handed a four-run lead to the bullpen. Kyle Farnsworth and Dusty Hughes each worked two scoreless innings in closing out the victory.

Boston presented knuckleballer Tim Wakefield with leads of 3-0 and 5-2 and it wasn't nearly enough. Wakefield allowed nine runs and 12 hits in 3 2/3 innings before departing after Betancourt's slam.

The Royals also nicked former teammate Ramon Ramirez for a run in the seventh before getting two against Hideki Okajima in the eighth. The only time the Royals were retired in order was, you guessed it, by Hall in the ninth inning.

Davies surrendered three runs in a 36-pitch first inning. Trouble started immediately when Marco Scutaro pulled a leadoff double past third base.

Dustin Pedroia struck out, but David Ortiz beat an overshifted infield with a ground single through the shortstop's normal position. Scutaro scored for a 1-0 lead.

Perhaps that frustrated Davies because he issued a four-pitch walk to Kevin Youkilis before Victor Martinez rammed a two-run double into the center-field wedge in deepest center field.

The Royals missed a chance to answer after loading the bases in the second inning when Jason Kendall drew a two-out walk after singles by Jose Guillen and Maier. Scott Podsednik ended the threat with a routine fly to left.

It was anything but an omen.

The Royals broke through in the third when Mike Aviles led off with a single and came around on DeJesus' double into the left-center gap. Guillen drew a one-out walk before Alberto Callaspo hit a grounder to third that should have ended the inning.

Adrian Beltre, a two-time Gold Glove winner, stepped on third for the force but made a sloppy throw to first that pulled Youkilis away from the base. The inning continued, and Maier slapped an RBI single that closed the gap to 3-2.

Davies gave those two runs right back.

Youkilis drew another walk in the Boston third, and Martinez followed with a homer to right field for a 5-2 lead.

That was all prelude to the Royals' seven-run fourth.

The seven-run inning was the biggest of the season - and biggest since the fifth inning on Sept. 24, 2008 in a 10-4 victory at Detroit.