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Pedroia leads Red Sox over Royals

Aug 19, 2011 - 5:23 AM Kansas City, MO (Sports Network) - Dustin Pedroia continued his impressive hitting at Kauffman Stadium by driving in three runs, including the go-ahead single in the fifth inning, as the Red Sox earned a 4-3 win over the Royals.

Pedroia is batting .500 (24-for-48) with 12 RBI in his career at Kansas City. He went 3-for-4 in the opener of this four-game series, as the Red Sox remained a half-game behind the New York Yankees for first in the AL East.

"We're just trying to win games right now," Pedroia said. "We're getting close to the end here and we're all trying to do our jobs. Wherever we hit, we've got to try to produce for us."

Josh Beckett (10-5), who allowed seven hits over seven frames, managed to snap a personal four-game winless stretch. The right-hander moved to 7-1 lifetime against the Royals.

Alex Gordon went deep for a second straight night, belting a two-run homer, but the Royals lost for the ninth time in 11 contests.

Luke Hochevar (8-10) fanned six, but was tagged for eight hits and four runs over six frames.

Carl Crawford stole a pair of bases in the fourth inning, but was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a fly ball from Mike Aviles. Center fielder Melky Cabrera threw a perfect strike to home plate and Crawford plowed into Salvador Perez, who held onto the ball.

Jed Lowrie doubled to right with one out in the fifth. With two down, Pedroia hit a grounder into center field, but was then thrown out following the late throw to the plate.

The hit gave Boston the 4-3 edge, and after Beckett exited, Daniel Bard pitched the eighth inning. Jonathan Papelbon fanned the final two batters in a 1-2-3 ninth for his 29th save.

"I don't we were intimidated at all by their pitchers," Kansas City second baseman Johnny Giavotella said, "We got some good swings on them. It's just a matter of time before we break loose and score a bunch of runs."

Billy Butler, who hit a controversial home run in a win over the Yankees on Wednesday, had three hits and hit a sacrifice fly in the first inning Thursday.

Jason Varitek singled in Josh Reddick in the top of the second and Pedroia gave Boston a 3-1 lead the following inning when he grounded a base hit up the middle to plate Ellsbury and Aviles.

Gordon tied the game in the bottom half, cranking his 16th homer of the year, a shot to left.

Game Notes

Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Thursday with a back injury. To take his spot on the roster, the team recalled catcher Ryan Lavarnway from Triple-A Pawtucket...Earlier Thursday, the Royals signed outfielder Jeff Francoeur to a two-year contract extension worth a reported $13.5 million...Ellsbury stole a base and has 33 steals this season and 169 for his career, moving him past Carl Yastrzemski for third on the Red Sox all-time stolen base list, behind only Harry Hooper (300) and Tris Speaker (267)...Papelbon has thrown 14 scoreless frames over his last 14 games, allowing just three base runners (all singles) with 15 strikeouts in that stretch, while going 2-0 with nine saves in that time.