Longball, rookie doom K.C.

Royals struggle as Boston hits three home runs, Gabbard shuts down offense.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:31 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

BOSTON — Rookie Kason Gabbard pitched a three-hitter for Boston’s second shutout of the season as the Red Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 4-0 with the help of three home runs Monday night.

Making his fourth start in place of injured Curt Schilling, Gabbard (3-0) began his second consecutive game at Fenway Park with 41/3 hitless innings and finished with the first complete game of his career.

Boston got solo homers from Dustin Pedroia and Manny Ramirez in the fourth and a two-run shot by David Ortiz in the sixth, all off Brian Bannister (5-6), also a first-year player.

With the crowd on its feet, Gabbard struck out Mark Grudzielanek and Mark Teahen for the final two outs.

After he fanned Teahen, he pumped his left fist.

Those were his first two strikeouts since the fifth inning.

Gabbard struck out eight, walked one and hit two batters.

Schilling pitched Boston’s other shutout this season, a 1-0 win on June 7 at Oakland in which Shannon Stewart got the Athletics’ only hit, a two-out single in the ninth.

Gabbard ran into trouble only in the fifth inning when the Royals loaded the bases. Emil Brown singled, Esteban German walked and John Buck was hit by a pitch.

But Tony Pena grounded to second baseman Pedroia, who just nipped him with a strong throw.

Brown had two hits, a ground ball single to right field in the fifth and an infield single to third base in the seventh. Reggie Sanders singled in the eighth.

After those last two hits, Gabbard got batters to ground the ball back to him, starting double plays.

In his last start at Fenway on July 2, Gabbard held Texas hitless until Gerald Laird singled in Boston’s 7-3 win.

His other start at home came on May 20 when he began with five scoreless innings in a 6-3 win over Atlanta.

Gabbard was optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket after that game but was recalled June 26 after Schilling went on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis.

Before Monday’s victory, Schilling threw 31 pitches to Red Sox hitters in a simulated game and said he felt good.

He is scheduled to make at least two rehabilitation starts with Pawtucket, starting Saturday night.

The first player to reach base in Monday’s matchup of rookie starters was Boston’s Julio Lugo.

He was credited with an infield single on a grounder to shortstop Pena with two outs in the third.

Replays indicated the throw just beat Lugo but he was called safe by umpire Greg Gibson.

Bannister then picked Lugo off.

Pedroia hit his fourth homer of the season with one out in the fourth on a full count. After Ortiz grounded out, Ramirez hit his 13th to deep left center.

Pedroia singled with one out in the sixth and Ortiz, down 0-2 in the count, worked it to 3-2 then lined a homer that cleared the low, right field wall.

The Royals have lost three of four games since the All-Star break.

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