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Monday, July 13, 2009

How does Bruce Chen keep finding work?

The Boston Red Sox (54-34) ended the first half of the 2009 regular season yesterday on a high note as they blanked the Kansas City Royals (37-51), 6-0 at Fenway.

Coupled with the Angels sweep of the Yankees, Boston is now three games up on New York in the AL East going into the All-Star break.

Sox ace Josh Beckett (11-3) pitched a three-hit shutout, making it a very memorable 100th career win. He didn't walk anybody, struck out seven and only needed 94 pitches to get through Kansas City's sorry lineup.

Rookie Aaron Bates had a huge day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, a run and an RBI. Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and Rocco Baldelli each added two hits. Red Sox hitters walked nine teams as Royals starter Bruce Chen and a host of pathetic relievers, couldn't throw strikes. Jason Bay walked three times and was hit by a pitch twice.

Youkilis started the scoring with an RBI single in the first. Boston added three in the fourth as Bates doubled home Nick Green (3 walks, 2 runs), Bates scored on David Ortiz's groundout and Jason Varitek walked with the bases loaded.

Baldelli plated the final run with an RBI double in the eighth which scored Ortiz.

Pedroia is sitting out the All-Star game to be with his pregnant wife but Youk, Beckett, Bay and Jonathan Papelbon all headed to St. Louis for the All-Star festivities. The Red Sox return to action Friday night for a three-game series in Toronto.

The first half has to be considered a big success for Boston as they find themselves with the best record in the American League, in the toughest division in baseball. At various times, their hitting, relief and starting pitching has carried them. Boston is one of baseball's deepest and most talented teams. There's no reason they shouldn't be playing deep into October this season.

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