Series: Game 1 of 4

Boston leads 1-0 (as of 9/11)

Game 1: Thursday, September 11
Kansas City3
Game 2: Friday, September 12
Kansas City2
Game 3: Saturday, September 13
Kansas City7
Game 4: Sunday, September 14
Kansas City4

Red Sox 6

(64-83, 33-39 away)

Royals 3

(80-66, 38-34 home)

    8:10 PM ET, September 11, 2014

    Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri 

    123456789 R H E
    BOS 012100020 6 9 1
    KC 020001000 3 6 3

    W: C. Buchholz (8-8)

    L: L. Hendriks (1-2)

    S: E. Mujica (5)

    Red Sox-Royals Preview


    The AL playoff race is just heating up for the Kansas City Royals, who are set to open a 10-game homestand that could make or break their season.

    The Boston Red Sox, meanwhile, are kicking off a 10-game trip but have been eliminated from contention -- taking the sting out of losing Dustin Pedroia for the rest of the year.

    The AL Central-leading Royals look to get this pivotal stretch at Kauffman Stadium off to a solid start Thursday night when they open a four-game series against the Red Sox.

    Kansas City (80-64) lost the first two of three games against Detroit before James Shields came up big in Wednesday's series finale, tossing two-hit ball over seven innings to help the Royals to a 3-0 win and a one-game advantage over the Tigers in the division.

    "It's definitely a game that we needed, for sure, but I think every game from here on out is pretty crucial," Shields said. "We took a couple tough losses there, the last couple days, but we're having fun right now and enjoying the moment."

    The Royals play another three against Detroit at the tail end of this homestand Sept. 19-21, and with Oakland and Seattle also vying for the AL's two wild-card spots, they cannot afford too many letdowns.

    Liam Hendriks (1-1, 4.81 ERA), who has been with four organizations since Minnesota designated him for assignment in December, has made a few spot starts for Kansas City because of nagging injuries to Yordano Ventura (back) and Danny Duffy (shoulder).

    In two outings since being acquired from Toronto, the Australian right-hander has gone 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA. He gave up one run and four hits over seven innings but didn't get a decision in a 6-1 win over the Twins on Aug. 27 before lasting four innings and allowing four runs and seven hits in a 6-2 loss to the Yankees on Saturday.

    Hendriks was hit hard in his one career start against Boston, surrendering seven runs and nine hits in four-plus innings of a 7-6 loss on April 25, 2012, while with Minnesota.

    The last-place Red Sox (63-83) have lost four in a row after they were swept in three straight by AL East-leading Baltimore.

    Following a 10-6 defeat Wednesday in the series finale, manager John Farrell announced that Pedroia would have season-ending surgery on his left hand.

    "He's going to have a procedure done here tomorrow ... in Boston that will address what he's dealing with right now," Farrell said. "I don't know any more specifics than that, but there will be certainly a follow-up after that's completed."

    Pedroia, the 2008 AL MVP, batted .278 with seven homers and 53 RBIs this season.

    The defending World Series champions, on the verge of their fifth losing streak of at least five games, swept three against the Royals at Fenway Park from July 18-20.

    The winner in the opener of that series was right-hander Clay Buchholz (7-8, 5.29), who's looking to win three straight starts for the first time in a letdown season. Over his last two starts, he's resembled the pitcher who went 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA last year.

    After tossing a three-hitter Aug. 31 in a 3-0 win at Tampa Bay, Buchholz allowed two runs and four hits over 6 1/3 innings in a 4-3 home victory over Toronto on Saturday.

    Buchholz, who hasn't won three straight since a five-start win streak last season, has pitched very well against the Royals after losing his first career start against them in 2009, winning all five subsequent outings with a 2.20 ERA.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Gameday Matchup

     BostonKansas City
    Current StreakL1W1
    Last 105-56-4

    Pitching Matchup

    BostonKansas City
    C. Buchholz
    8-11, 5.34 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/28 vs NYY
    6.0 IP, 4 ER
    Dec = Loss
    L. Hendriks
    1-2, 5.23 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/28 at CHW
    1.0 IP, 0 ER
    Dec = ND

    Gameday Lineups

    NO.BostonKansas City
    1. M. Betts, RF N. Aoki, RF
    2. X. Bogaerts, SS O. Infante, 2B
    3. D. Ortiz, DH A. Gordon, LF
    4. Y. Cespedes, LF J. Willingham, DH
    5. M. Napoli, 1B E. Hosmer, 1B
    6. W. Middlebrooks, 3B S. Perez, C
    7. J. Bradley Jr., CF M. Moustakas, 3B
    8. C. Vazquez, C L. Cain, CF
    9. J. Weeks, 2B A. Escobar, SS