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Closing Time: Daniel Nava the latest Fenway Park hero in Red Sox win

04.20.13 at 4:33 pm ET
By

Daniel Nava

Daniel Nava’s day started kind of lousy. It ended up really well.

After derailing a seventh-inning rally by being picked off second by Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez, the outfielder came back and sent a Kelvin Herrera changeup into the Red Sox’ bullpen with two outs in the eighth inning. The blow — which came with the Sox trailing by a run — resulted in a three-run home run, paving the way for a Sox’ 4-3 win over the Royals, Saturday at Fenway Park.

It was the Red Sox’ seventh win in a row.

Also helping the Red Sox win 12 of their first 16 games for the first time since 2002, was starter Clay Buchholz.

Buchholz extended the Sox’ starting pitchers’ streak of allowing three runs or less to 16 straight games. It almost wasn’t enough as James Shields helped lead Kansas City to a 2-1 win over the Red Sox, Saturday at Fenway Park.

Buchholz’ ERA remained under 1.00 (0.90) after allowing just two runs on eight hits over eight innings. The righty struck out six and walked one while throwing 104 pitches.

Shields allowed just one run on four hits over six innings. The righty struck out eight and walked three while throwing 106 pitches. Shields came into the game having gone 2-9 with a 5.86 ERA in his previous 11 starts at Fenway Park.

Here is what went right (and wrong) on an emotional day at Fenway:

WHAT WENT RIGHT

- In first game of the season, David Ortiz made an impression out of the gate. After flying out to left in his first at-bat, the DH then singled to right in the fourth before driving in the Red Sox’ first run with a two-out, run-scoring base-hit to center. The RBI scored Jacoby Ellsbury, who had led off the frame with a single before moving to second on Shane Victorino’s sacrifice bunt. Ortiz did, however, hit into a no-out, double play with runners on first and second in the eighth on a ground ball back up the middle.

- Neil Diamond performed ‘Sweet Caroline’ in person during the eighth inning.

WHAT WENT WRONG

- After the Red Sox tied the game with a run in the sixth, the Royals came right back and reclaimed their lead in the seventh. Kansas City notched the run when, with two outs, Perez rifled a line-drive into the right field corner, scoring Lorenzo Cain. Cain had doubled to lead off the inning, finishing with four hits.

- The Royals got on the board first when, in the fifth inning, Jeff Francoeur singled in Cain. Cain had also led off that frame with a double.

- Stephen Drew continued his struggles, still stuck on two hits in what is now 26 at-bats to start the season after an 0-for-3 afternoon.

- Victorino left the game with back tightness, being pinch-hit for in the eighth by Jonny Gomes. Gomes doubled high off the left field wall in his only at-bat.

- Closer Andrew Bailey allowed the Royals to cut the lead to one in the ninth with a Cain solo homer.

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