Beckett shuts down Royals

Red Sox hold on to beat Royals 4-3

KANSAS CITY — Dustin Pedroia drove in three runs with a pair of well-timed singles, Josh Beckett survived a shaky start to go seven innings and the Boston Red Sox got back on the winning track with a 4-3 victory Thursday night over the Kansas City Royals.

Jason Varitek drove in the other run for the Red Sox, who had lost five of their last seven games after getting shut out Wednesday by the division-rival Tampa Bay Ray.

Beckett (10-5) and the Royals proved to be the perfect matchup to turn things around. The right-hander allowed all three runs in the first three innings to improve to 7-1 in his career against them — his only loss came July 28 in Boston. Beckett also reached the 10-win plateau after failing in his four previous attempts.

Daniel Bard worked the eighth for Boston, and Jonathan Papelbon made it through a perfect ninth to extend his career-best streak to 24 consecutive saves. It was his 29th of the season.

Luke Hochevar (8-10) labored through 114 pitches in just six innings for the Royals. The former No. 1 overall draft pick allowed all four runs on eight hits and two walks, despite getting some help from his defense.

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