John Smoltz picked up his first win in a Red Sox uniform last night, pitching five strong innings and striking out seven. It wasn’t pretty after that, but a win’s a win. The Sox offense combined with some Bad News Bears defense from the Royals to plate 15 runs, and they would end up needing most of them. Justin Masterson, who skipped his Wheaties yesterday, started the sixth but could only manage one out before Manny Delcarmen came in and let a couple inherited runners score. The Royals would add another in the seventh and suddenly it’s 9-7 and thoughts of Baltimore are looming.

But this is the Royals and the Sox grabbed three more in the bottom of the seventh while KC was busy throwing the ball aimlessly around the field. Bard gave up a couple of unearned runs in his two innings and Saito pitched a clean ninth in a Shawshank Redemption-like rain to end it.

Youk crushed two out of the park as part of his three-hit night, and Pedroia added a double and a triple. Tek and Ortiz homered as well and justlikethat the offense looks healthy again.

Meanwhile, the Yankee bullpen continues to suck, giving up another early lead only to lose again. Sox up by two in the East, with the Commander taking the hill today. I like our chances.