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Closing time: Red Sox were battery-charged in win

04.10.10 at 10:18 pm ET
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The Josh Beckett-Zack Greinke showdown lived up the hype, and the Red Sox’ starter got the upper-hand. The Red Sox jumped all over Greinke with two runs in the fifth and two in the seventh, while Beckett allowed just three runs over seven innings as the Sox avenged their Friday night loss with an 8-3 win over the Royals Saturday night in Kansas City. (Click here for a recap.)

What went right for the Red Sox

- The subs produced: Mike Lowell, Jeremy Hermida, and Jason Varitek had one at-bat this season between them coming into Saturday night. There appeared to be little rust on any of them, however, with the trio going a long way to making their presence felt. Lowell supplied a single while making a few stellar plays at third base, Hermida followed up his pinch-hit single Friday night with a solo homer to get the Sox on the board, and Varitek (hitting lefty) followed Hermida’s long ball with one of his own for back-to-back home runs in the fifth. The catcher then added to his output with another homer, this one coming in the ninth.

- Speaking of Varitek: It should be noted that both of the captain’s homers came from the left side of the plate, usually the side of the dish he wouldn’t be called upon to bat from. Both also came on off-speed pitches, the first a curveball and the second a changeup. By the way, Varitek had hit three homer sin Kauffman Stadium back on May 20, 2001.

- Beckett was Beckett: A sign that Beckett was more on this game than in the season debut against the Yankees came when he hit his spot with two curveballs in striking out Royals’ leadoff hitter David DeJesus in the first inning. The Sox’ ace was able to use all of his pitches, turning in what was an extremely economical outing until hitting a rough spot in a 32-pitch seventh inning. He only had four strikeouts and five swings and misses, but kept the ball down, as was evidenced by 12 of his 16 outs coming on the ground.

What went wrong for the Red Sox

- Offensively, not much: Going up and down the lineup, the Red Sox got  production from a lot of different places. The only Sox starter not to manage to claim a hit off Greinke Victor Martinez. Dustin Pedroia would have also gone hitless if not for his ninth-inning homer.

- Almost a disaster: David DeJesus’ liner back up the middle in the seventh scored Chris Getz to bring the Royals within a run, but that wasn’t the problem. The real anxiety was due to where the ball tracked, which was right of the back of Beckett’s head. While the ricochet changed the ball’s direction, it didn’t alter Beckett’s path, as he finished off the frame without even a visit from the trainers. “I was thinking about how many runs they were going to score. It didn’t hit me that hard,” Beckett told reporters after the game.

- They’re still running: Getz had gotten in position to score on DeJesus’ single after stealing second off Beckett and Varitek. The bizarre part about the play was that Varitek didn’t try at all to come out of his crouch. Even with the emphasis on controlling the running game in spring training, the Sox already lead the majors with seven stolen bases against (with one caught stealing). It bears watching.

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