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CWS@KC: Guthrie strikes out five, solid over 7 2/3

It will be a tough task for Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie to follow up his last performance.

Guthrie had a no-hitter brewing with two outs in the seventh inning last Sunday against the White Sox, before Paul Konerko's controversial infield single -- recently changed to an error on shortstop Alcides Escobar -- spoiled his first no-hit bid. When Chicago scored a pair of unearned runs the following inning, Guthrie wasn't even in line for the win, but it didn't take away from an otherwise stellar outing.

It's been three strong outings in a row for Guthrie, actually. After finishing the month of July with a frighteningly high 6.68 ERA, Guthrie's been downright dominant in August. He's 2-1 with a 0.94 ERA in four starts this month, including three straight starts in which he didn't surrender an earned run.

But, if Guthrie's going to continue his string of recent success, he'll have to do it against a team that's tormented him in the past.

In his career against the Red Sox, the right-hander is 3-8 with a 4.50 ERA in 19 games (17 starts). He frequently faced the Red Sox during his five-year tenure with Baltimore, and only the Rays have amassed more hits, runs and walks against Guthrie in his career. Only the Blue Jays have homered against Guthrie more frequently than the Red Sox.

Saturday will mark the first time Guthrie has faced an American League East opponent since returning to the league on July 20.

Aaron Cook will start for the Red Sox. He subs for Josh Beckett, who reportedly is on his way to the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of a nine-player deal involving himself and fellow teammates Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto.

Royals: Escobar a prolific thief
Entering Friday's series opener, Escobar ranked fifth in the AL with 25 stolen bases. His next steal will match a career high set just last season. Teammate Jarrod Dyson was tied for seventh before picking up No. 24 in Friday night's 4-3 loss.

• The Royals appealed Sunday's ruling on the Konerko infield hit, and the scoring change to an error officially meant that Guthrie's no-hitter lasted three outs longer, with the first hit being Dayan Viciedo's single with two outs in the top of the eighth.

Red Sox: Pedroia feasts against Royals
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia owns a .385 average in 41 career games against Kansas City. That's the highest by any Major Leaguer with a minimum of 125 at-bats against the Royals. Scott Rolen ranks second with a .383 mark.

• One Red Sox hitter will be especially happy to see Guthrie's return to the AL. Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is hitting .395 lifetime against Guthrie, with three doubles, a home run, five RBIs and two walks.

• The Red Sox will hold a pregame ceremony on Saturday honoring 11 athletes with New England ties that participated in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Gold medalists Tina Charles (basketball), Kayla Harrison (judo), Asjha Jones (basketball) and Aly Raisman (gymnastics) will be in attendance.

Worth noting
• The Red Sox are 12-5 against the Royals at Fenway Park since 2008. The last time they dropped a series at home to Kansas City was July 2007.

• Only two active Royals have homered off Beckett: Billy Butler and Alex Gordon. Butler is 5-for-18 lifetime against Beckett, and Gordon is 4-for-14.

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