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Pedroia extends streak but Red Sox fall to Royals

Jul 29, 2011 - 3:32 AM Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Luke Hochevar threw seven solid innings as the Kansas City Royals salvaged a four-game series split with a 4-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox.

Hochevar (7-8) was facing a Red Sox team that scored 25 runs over the past two games, but held Boston to just two runs on six hits and a walk while striking out six.

Billy Butler smacked a three-run homer off Josh Beckett during a four-run fourth inning that gave the Royals the lead. They won for the sixth time in their last nine games.

Joakim Soria tossed a scoreless ninth to earn his 19th save of the year.

Beckett (9-4) allowed four runs -- three earned -- on five hits and three walks while fanning eight over seven innings as Boston lost for just the fifth time in July.

Dustin Pedroia homered in the eighth inning to extend his career-best hit streak to 25 games for the Red Sox.

Soria allowed a one-out single to Drew Sutton in the ninth and then faced Carl Crawford, who came in to pinch-hit for Jason Varitek. Crawford fell behind 1-2, but then hammered a low-and-inside slider deep into right field. It looked as if Crawford had ended the game with a two-run home run, but the ball fell a few feet short of the wall and Jeff Francoeur made a basket catch on the warning track. Soria got Yamaico Navarro to fan on a curve to end the game.

Boston struck for the game's opening runs in the bottom of the third. Varitek led off the frame with a single and was followed by a Navarro double before both came home on Jacoby Ellsbury's single to right.

Kansas City answered in the fourth with a three-run homer by Butler. Alex Gordon and Mitch Maier were given free passes by Beckett to start the inning and scored on the blast to center.

"He left it over the plate a little bit and I just put a good swing on it," said Butler.

Two batters later, Francoeur sent a ball into deep left that Sutton tracked to the wall, but the ball hit the heel of his glove and fell to the turf. Mike Moustakas followed with a double to right, scoring Francoeur and giving the Royals a 4-2 lead.

The Red Sox made it a one-run game in the eighth when Pedroia greeted reliever Greg Holland with a leadoff shot over the Green Monster.

"I was just trying to get on base," said Pedroia. "I was just trying to put together a good at-bat (and) I hit it on the barrel."

Game Notes

Crawford did not start as he is recovering from a left elbow strain...Hochevar improved to 2-3 in five starts against Boston and is now unbeaten in his last six starts (3-0 with three no-decisions)...Beckett fell to 6-1 lifetime against Kansas City in nine starts...Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer extended his hit streak to nine games.