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Red Sox hope for bounce back in KC

Not only was Tim Wakefield denied his 200th career win yet game set at Kauffman Stadium.

Wakefield has been trying for nearly a month to reach the 200-win plateau, but is winless in his last five starts since capturing victory 199 on July 24. He was charged with four runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings on Saturday as the Sox suffered the 9-4 setback on the road.

"I'm trying to take it like it's a normal start and trying to go out there and give us some quality innings, quality starts," said Wakefield. "I had a bad sixth inning."

Wakefield didn't figure into the decision, one that left the Sox still one- half game behind the New York Yankees in the standings after the Bronx Bombers were defeated by the Minnesota Twins. Instead, it was Matt Albers who suffered his fourth setback of 2011 as he gave up five runs in the sixth inning.

Dustin Pedroia, Carl Crawford and Ryan Lavarnway all registered two hits for Boston as the squad saw a brief two-game win streak come to a halt.

The Royals sent 12 batters to the plate and had seven of their 14 hits during the decisive sixth inning. Eric Hosmer's two-run triple capped the big rally, as Kansas City snapped a two-game slide but is still 16 games out of contention in the AL Central and all alone in last place in the division.

Alex Gordon contributed three hits, including a two-run double in the sixth, while Hosmer had both of his hits during the rally. Jeff Francoeur, Billy Butler and Mike Moustakas also chipped in with a pair of hits as well

KC hurler Felipe Paulino benefited from the scoring burst by the Royals to earn his first win in seven starts. He gave up four runs on eight hits in six innings after going 0-3 in his previous six starts and just 1-5 in 14 appearances since being acquired from the Rockies for cash in May.

Heading back to the hill for the Red Sox today is lefty Jon Lester as he seeks to post back-to-back wins for the first time since early June. The Washington native has won just two of his last five starts, including a 3-1 triumph over Tampa Bay earlier this week.

Against the Rays Lester lasted seven innings, allowing just one run on three hits, walking one and striking out eight in his 12th victory of the campaign.

Lester has yet to defeat KC this season, although the hurler did not receive a decision the last time he faced them, despite giving up one run on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings of work. For his career Lester has a mark of 4-1 with a minuscule 1.28 ERA.

As for the Royals, they have Danny Duffy penciled in as their starter this time around. The lefty, in his first major league season, has been roughed up of late and has suffered three straight defeats. On Tuesday the California native was beaten up by the Yankees who scored eight runs on just as many hits and a pair of walks over the course of three innings. Duffy walked two and struck out three, in addition to hitting a couple of batters before Kansas City eventually bowed in the 9-7 setback.

Duffy faced Boston once before during the season and while he failed to factor into the decision, he and the Royals suffered a 13-9 loss on the road at Fenway in late July as the hurler again failed to make it through four innings, giving up six runs on six hits and three walks.

Boston, which has won the season series against the Royals in each of the previous three seasons, now leads the squad by a 4-3 mark in 2011. contests in this series.