BOSTON – Kansas City shortstop Alcides Escobar is proud of what he's done at the plate so far this season. It was his glove that had him feeling lousy on Sunday.
Escobar booted two ground balls, leading to three unearned runs, and the Royals lost 8-6 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
"It's hard for me right now," Escobar said, quietly sitting at his locker with his head down. "I try to play hard with my defense. I know I can hit right now. I feel really bad right now, two errors in one game is bad for me."
Escobar has hit well in his second season with Kansas City. Entering Sunday, he was the second-best hitting shortstop in the majors, batting .304 to trail only New York's Derek Jeter.
"You don't see that very often," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Escobar's rough day. "We struggled to catch the ball today and we had to pay for it. They were both tough plays, the first one skipped up on him and the second was hit hard."
Escobar's first error led to the go-ahead run in the sixth. The second paved the way for two unearned runs in the seventh that put Kansas City in a 7-4 hole.
James Loney hit a tying single in his Boston debut and Jacoby Ellsbury drove in the go-ahead run as the revamped Red Sox bounced back from a nine-player trade and a 12-inning loss on Saturday night.
Will Smith (4-6) allowed five runs — four earned — and nine hits in five-plus innings for Kansas City.
"Just not a good day. It just wasn't there today," he said. "Couldn't get anybody out, just gave up a lot of base hits. Nothing was working."
A day after he was the only major leaguer coming to Boston in a deal that sent Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Nick Punto and more than $250 million in salary to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Loney went 1 for 5. Pedro Ciriaco had three hits, scored twice and drove in two runs for the Red Sox, who won for just the fourth time in 12 games.
Pedro Beato (1-0) allowed two runs in two-plus innings but got the win on the same day he was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket. Mark Melancon pitched the ninth for his first save.
Lorenzo Cain hit a three-run homer as the Royals scored four times in the fourth to take a 4-2 lead.
Ciriaco hit a solo homer in the fifth, then Ellsbury singled, advanced on a grounder, stole third and scored on Loney's single to center — his first career AL hit. Ellsbury's RBI single in the sixth gave the Red Sox the lead.
It was 7-4 in the seventh when the Royals loaded the bases with nobody out to chase Beato. Craig Breslow came in and struck out Johnny Giavotella before Eric Hosmer hit a sinking liner that right fielder Cody Ross lost in the sun.
He charged in, ducked, and at the last minute stabbed out his right arm to make the catch; Billy Butler scored from third to make it 7-5, but Ross, as he fell, hit the cutoff man with just enough force to keep the other runners from advancing.
Tony Abreu singled in another run, then Cain struck out looking to end the threat.
Dustin Pedroia added a solo homer in the eighth for Boston.
Boston starter Felix Doubront, who was activated from the disabled list (bruised right knee), struck out seven in five innings, but was charged with four runs and six hits. He is winless in his last five starts.
NOTES: Escobar went 1 for 4 at the plate with a walk. He now has 17 errors on the year. ... Red Sox DH David Ortiz sat out his second straight game, having played just once since coming off the disabled list after being sidelined with a right Achilles tendon strain. ... The Red Sox also optioned OF Che-Hsuan Lin to Triple-A Pawtucket. ... Each team committed two errors, but Boston's miscues by 3B Ciriaco and C Ryan Lavarnway did not lead to any runs. SS Alcides Escobar made both of Kansas City's, leading to a total of three unearned runs.