Wells had some good fortune in the second inning when he navigated his way out of a jam in which the Royals had runners on second and third with no outs. He had more good fortune in the third when Mike Sweeney narrowly missed a three-run homer down the left-field line and then rapped into a double play.
But mostly, it was Wells making good pitches when he needed them and earning a victory on a night when he didn't feel his best.
"I felt pretty fatigued after being sick the last couple of outings," Wells said. "I went out there with the best I had and got out of a few jams."
Wells threw 91 pitches through five innings, and manager Terry Francona decided to let his bullpen go the rest of the way with a 5-0 lead. Jeremi Gonzalez was strong for three innings and now has an 11 2/3-inning scoreless streak. Mike Timlin wobbled a bit in the ninth, but got Chip Ambres to bounce into a game-ending forceout when Ambres represented the tying run.
Wells didn't fight Francona's decision to go to the bullpen after five innings.
"With the way I felt, it would have taken too much energy to go on," Wells said.
Wells hopes to get a different kind of victory on Wednesday when he appeals the six-game suspension that Major League Baseball handed down on July 15 for Wells' heated argument with umpires on July 2.
"I'm looking forward to pleading my case because I feel I was not in the wrong," Wells said.
The Red Sox made Wells' task easier by providing some early offense against Kansas City starter Zack Greinke.
Damon had a run-scoring double in the third, and Edgar Renteria added an RBI single as Damon scored from second with some aggressive baserunning. Left fielder Terrence Long appeared to have a shot at Damon, but his throw was a bit off and Damon took the proper route to reach the plate and avoid catcher John Buck's tag.
"I knew there was no way I could run into John Buck," Damon said. "He's big, strong and could have put me in the hospital. I was able to see the side of the plate where the ball was going, and I made the slide the other way to get in there. It proved to be a spark for us."
When David Ortiz completed the three-run rally with an RBI double and Jason Varitek homered in the fourth, the Red Sox were well on their way toward a victory that evened the road trip record at 4-4.
"We struck some hits together," Francona said. "Once we got through the order once, we wound up taking some pretty good swings."
For the Royals, it was a club-record ninth consecutive home loss. After following their 19-game losing streak with two wins at Oakland, the Royals couldn't sustain the momentum against Wells and Gonzalez.
Gonzalez didn't allow a hit in his three innings and fanned three.
"He had some big innings, some clean innings, and that was really nice to see," Francona said. "What you don't want at that point in the game is excitement. Jeremi came in and did exactly what he's supposed to do. The last couple of weeks, he has been very effective, on top of taking the ball a lot."