Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 4, Royals 3

BOSTON -- Oh, and by the way, the Boston Red Sox actually played a baseball game Friday night at Fenway Park.

Even though the news of the potential blockbuster trade between the Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers stole the headlines, the Red Sox defeated the Kansas City Royals 4-3 to snap a four-game skid.

With the Red Sox reportedly in the midst of trading first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, outfielder Carl Crawford, pitcher Josh Beckett and infielder Nick Punto to the Dodgers in exchange for pitcher Rubby De La Rosa, first baseman James Loney and prospects Ivan De Jesus, Jerry Sands and Allen Webster, Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester came out and pitched well before leaving the game in the eighth inning with what appeared to be a leg injury.

The left-hander worked seven innings (plus three pitches in the eighth) and allowed only three runs on six hits with four walks and six strikeouts. He tossed 96 pitches (61 for strikes) and improved to 8-10.

The Red Sox gave Lester a two-run cushion in the bottom of the first inning thanks to David Ortiz's two-run single. Kansas City pushed across a pair of runs in the third and another in the fourth.

With Boston trailing 3-2, the Sox's Pedro Ciriaco provided a two-run double in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Boston a 4-3 lead.

Lester, who had slipped on the mound during the top of the seventh inning, started the top of the eighth inning and had a 3-0 count on the Royals' Billy Butler. Lester walked to the back of the mound and was clearly in some discomfort as a trainer tended to him.

Lester was removed in favor of right-handed reliever Vicente Padilla. In fact, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine used a total of four pitchers in that inning. After Padilla allowed a single to Butler and then recorded a strikeout, lefty Andrew Miller was summoned from the bullpen and retired the lone batter he faced. Red Sox right-hander Andrew Bailey replaced the southpaw and retired the only batter he faced to end the inning.

After the Red Sox were retired in order in the bottom of the eighth, Bailey remained in the game and earned his first save as a member of the Red Sox.

PAPI'S BACK: It didn't take Ortiz long to contribute with his bat. He was activated from the disabled list prior to Friday's game and went 2-for-4, including a double and two RBIs. On his first at-bat in the first inning, Ortiz drove the first pitch he saw off Royals starter Bruce Chen for a two-run single. In the third inning, he collected his second hit of the night, again on the first pitch, with a double to right-center field. He struck out in the sixth and seventh innings. Ortiz missed a total of 35 games because of a right Achilles strain, and the Red Sox went 13-22 in his absence. What's even more impressive, it's the first time he's seen live pitching since July 16.

UP NEXT: Well, Beckett (5-11, 5.23 ERA) was scheduled to start for the Red Sox on Saturday, but that appears unlikely due to the pending trade. Boston lefty Felix Doubront has been on the DL with a knee contusion and is eligible to be activated on Saturday, so he could be an option. That would mean Aaron Cook could start for the Red Sox on Sunday, which would have been his normal fifth day.