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Jacoby Ellsbury hit a three-run homer and Tim Wakefield's baffling knuckleball shut down Kansas City on four hits through six innings, helping the Boston Red Sox to an 8-2 victory over the Royals last night.
Jed Lowrie and J.D. Drew drove in two runs apiece for the Red Sox, who finished their season series 6-1 against the Royals.
Wakefield (7-8) threw knuckleballs almost exclusively, tossing practically each delivery toward the plate in the 63 mph range while winning for the first time in four starts.
After Mark Teahen's two-out single in the first, the 42-year-old right-hander retired 10 in a row. He gave up two runs, only one earned, while striking out six and not walking a batter.
Three other Boston pitchers shut out the Royals on four hits the rest of the way.
Ellsbury, who appears to be breaking out of a prolonged slump, was 3-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs. He also made a diving, tumbling head-over-heels catch of Mitch Maier's popup into shallow center after Ross Gload's two-run double shaved the lead to 3-2 in the fifth.
Luke Hochevar (6-10) dropped to 0-3 in his last four starts, with an ERA of 7.48. He went 5 2-3 innings and allowed five runs on seven hits, with three walks and two strikeouts.
The Red Sox had the bases loaded with one out in the first inning, but Mike Lowell lined to Hochevar and Kevin Youkilis was doubled off first. Hochevar then allowed only one baserunner until Alex Cora singled with two out in the fifth.
Youkilis was on base after getting hit in the right hand by a pitch. He left the game before the Red Sox took the field for the bottom half, and the team said he had contusions on the hand. X-rays were negative.
With two out in the fifth, Cora hit a 2-2 pitch for a single and Drew followed with another single before both scored on Lowrie's double. David Ortiz made it 3-0 with an RBI single.
Ellsbury, with only three RBIs in his previous 24 games, connected off Ron Mahay in the third for his sixth home run and first off a left-hander.
After Hochevar loaded the bases by issuing a two-out walk to No. 9 hitter Cora in the sixth, Mahay came out of the bullpen to face the left-handed Drew, who hit a two-run single into center.
This program aired on August 7, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.
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