Bench Pressing: Sox 8, Royals 3

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Royals pitcher Zack Greinke may be the best pitcher in the American League, but even he can’t stand up to being whacked upside the head by a bench.

Manager Terry Francona gave Jason Varitek, Jeremy Hermida and Mike Lowell their first starts of the season, sitting David Ortiz, Mike Cameron and Adrian Beltre against Greinke, the 2009 AL Cy Young award winner.

Surrender? Try no retreat. Varitek and Hermida hit back-to-back home runs off Greinke in the fifth, part of a five-homer barrage by the Sox in an 8-3 victory.

Varitek also homered in the ninth off Royals reliever Luis Mendoza, giving him his first two-homer game since last May 28 at Minnesota. Varitek hit only one home run after July 11, and that came off Sergio Mitre in a game the Sox were losing, 20-7, to the Yankees.

The other Sox home runs were by Kevin Youkilis, his first of the season, and Dustin Pedroia, his second.

Josh Beckett went seven innings for the win, his first of the season. Beckett cruised through the first six innings on just 71 pitches, allowing an RBI single in the first by Rick Ankiel, and was allowed to pitch out of trouble in the seventh, when the Royals scored twice.

Lowell had a single in four trips in his 2010 debut, and also made a nice diving stop.

The Sox knocked out Greinke in the seventh when he hit Marco Scutaro in the elbow with a pitch and Jacoby Ellsbury doubled him home. Ellsbury, who had three hits on the night, took third on the throw and scored on a sacrifice fly.