Lester tries to stay perfect for Red Sox

Lester tries to stay perfect for Red Sox

It remains to be seen, but the Red Sox can only hope Monday night's come-from-behind win has some legs to it.

With their starting pitcher only able to go four innings because of recurring back problems, and trailing 4-0 to the last-place team in the American League Central, the Red Sox found new life and beat the Royals in the opener of the three-game series.

Tuesday night, Boston sends 22-year-old lefty Jon Lester to the hill against Kansas City right-hander Brandon Duckworth in the middle game of the series at Fenway Park.

Three innings away from defeat on Monday, Boston scored five times in its last two at-bats to post the win, and talk in the Red Sox's clubhouse turned to thoughts of momentum that could lead to a new winning streak.

"Absolutely it can," said second baseman Mark Loretta. "It was one of those snatch-back wins at the end of the game that should give us some good momentum."

Coco Crisp was more philosophical, pointing to the club's business-like approach all season.

"We'll come back with the same mentality as we did [Monday] and the day before," he said. "We're just trying to win a ballgame."

One rarity from Monday night's contest, unlikely to occur two days in a row, was the sight of David Ortiz stealing a base. Ortiz swiped second in the eighth inning, his sixth career steal and first since July 10, 2005, at Baltimore.

Jonathan Papelbon recorded his 27th save on Monday, tying him for sixth-most by a rookie in Major League history.

Pitching matchup
KC: RHP Brandon Duckworth (1-2, 5.40 ERA)

In his last outing, Duckworth didn't help himself much with his inability to locate home plate. He made 103 pitches in a loss to the Tigers, and just 59 were strikes. In his career, Duckworth has never faced the Red Sox, a team with as much offensive firepower as any in the game. So to shut them down, he will need to stay out of hitter's counts.

BOS: LHP Jon Lester (4-0, 2.89 ERA)
Lester remains unbeaten in six starts, but has run up high pitch counts in early innings and has been helped by stellar defensive efforts. In his last outing against Oakland, he allowed one run and five hits, but walked five batters. With an ailing rotation, Boston needs continued success from the rookie.

Player to watch
Alex Gonzalez went 1-for-3 Monday to raise his batting average to .281. He is hitting .341 (14-for-41) in 10 games in July after hitting .186 in 21 games in April, .270 in 22 May games and .352 in 19 June contests. In his last 26 games since June 8, Gonzalez is batting .376.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• 850 AM, WEEI, 950 AM, WROL (Español)

Up next
• Wednesday: Red Sox (RHP Josh Beckett, 11-5, 5.12) vs. Royals (LHP Mark Redman, 6-4, 5.38) 1:05 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Red Sox (RHP Curt Schilling, 11-3, 3.42) vs. Rangers (LHP John Rheinecker, 4-4, 4.82), 2:05 p.m. ET
• Friday: Red Sox (RHP Kyle Snyder, 1-1, 10.03) at Mariners (LHP Jamie Moyer, 5-8, 3.75), 10:05 p.m. ET

Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.