J. D. Drew and Mike Lowell both hit grand slams on Thursday afternoon, as the Red Sox completed a clean sweep of the Kansas City Royals, 11-8.
Drew went deep in the second, and Lowell hit one in the sixth, as it looked like the Sox were cruising in a laugher. It was also the first time that the Red Sox hit two grand slams in the same game since July 2003, when Bill Mueller hit two (one from each side of the plate) in his three home run game against Texas.
But the Achilles heel of the Red Sox struck once again, and that is their middle relief. Craig Hansen gave up two runs in the seventh, including a home run, and David Aardsma gave up a three-run shot in the eighth. Granted the game appeared to be won, but it forced Terry Francona to bring in Jonathan Papelbon, who proceeded to put two on before getting the last out for the save.
The bullpen did a nice job last night, as Bartolo Colon pitched five good innings in his first Red Sox appearance. They shut down KC over the final four innings, with just a garbage run with two outs in the ninth the lone blemish on a fine evening.
Daisuke Matsuzaka got his 8th win and is still undefeated. But the Walk Parade was on hand yet again, as he walked 6 in 5 2/3 innings, while fanning 7. He didn't have good command, as he allowed three runs on six hits and threw a ton of pitches just to get to the sixth inning. But he once again had some excellent run support behind him.
The Red Sox swept the Royals, and had previously swept Milwaukee three straight, to complete a seven-game whitewash of the homestand. The Red Sox have rebounded nicely from the two brutal losses in Baltimore last week.
The Red Sox now have the best record at home in the MLB, 21-5, and the overall best record as well, 31-19. Their lead over Tampa Bay is now 2 1/2 games as they begin a 10-game road trip to Oakland, Seattle and Baltimore.