Rapid Reaction: Royals 9, Red Sox 6

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jake Peavy, who was everything the Red Sox could have wished for in his first start, was nobody's idea of a good time Friday night in a 9-6 loss, with the exception of the Kansas City Royals, who are known to have fun at Peavy's expense, especially here.

The Sox gave Peavy a lead on three different occasions, only to have the Royals seize it back all three times, scoring six runs against Peavy and two relievers, Drake Britton and Pedro Beato, in a sixth-inning collapse in which Kansas City sent 11 men to the plate.

Peavy gave up 10 hits, including home runs by Justin Maxwell and Alex Gordon, did not strike out a batter and was charged with six runs on a night when the Royals swung and missed at only two of his 105 pitches.

Peavy had a 6-3 lead entering the sixth, courtesy of a bases-loaded, slump-breaking double by Mike Napoli that cleared the bases in the fourth. But the Royals opened the sixth with singles by Maxwell, Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar to cut the score to 6-4 and bring an end to Peavy's labors.

Rookie lefty Britton entered and walked light-hitting catcher George Kottaras, who came into the game batting .167, then retired pinch hitter Miguel Tejada on a pop fly. Rookie David Lough followed with a sacrifice fly, on which Shane Victorino's throw to the plate was a whisker too late to catch Moustakas and allowed the runners to advance into scoring position. Eric Hosmer then stuck out his bat and placed a ground-ball single through the left side to give the Royals a 7-6 lead.

Billy Butler greeted right-handed reliever Beato with a two-base hit, beating the throw into second from Jacoby Ellsbury. After a walk to Gordon, Maxwell delivered his third hit of the game -- and second of the inning -- a run-scoring single that made it 9-6.

Peavy is no stranger to long nights in Kauffman Stadium; he is 1-5 with a 6.42 ERA in seven starts in Kansas City.

The Sox brought the tying run to the plate after Worcester, Mass., native Tim Collins walked Ellsbury and Victorino to open the eighth inning, but Dustin Pedroia's sharp ground ball to third erased both baserunners on a double play, and David Ortiz, who had earlier hit his 22nd home run of the season, popped out to end the inning.

The Sox, who had to come from behind twice to salvage wins in three games against the last-place Astros, have now dropped two straight to the Royals, who are 17-4 since the All-Star break, have climbed seven games over .500, and have thrust themselves into the wild-card race.