Bridge to Soria on solid ground
Tejeda, Wood thriving in setup roles in KC's bullpen
BOSTON -- The countdown to Royals closer Joakim Soria on Thursday night was an example of the perfect buildup for a save.
Robinson Tejeda reeled off a perfect inning, as did Blake Wood, and they handed a 4-3 lead to Soria, who promptly polished off the Red Sox with a 1-2-3 ninth.
"That's the purpose of the bullpen. Have a good inning, stay in the game longer and win some ballgames," Soria said.
Having successful setup men helps prime a closer for the kill, in Soria's view.
"When you know you're going to be in the game, you prepare your mind and your body and just go after it," he said.
Kansas City's bullpen had a ragged start to the season and, coincidentally or not since Ned Yost took over as manager, had lowered its collective ERA from 5.19 to 4.60 entering Friday night's game. That's made for a happier environment in the 'pen.
"It has to be like a family out there," Soria said.
Guillen among leaders in getting plunked
BOSTON -- It's Jose Guillen, human target.
Guillen was hit by a pitch in Thursday night's 4-3 Royals victory, making three times he'd been plunked in two games and six times in 12 games. Going into Friday night's game against the Red Sox, Guillen was tied with the Brewers' Prince Fielder for the Major League lead with eight.
Guillen stands close to the plate and pitchers like to work him inside so that he cannot extend his arms to swing, and sometimes he gets nailed.
"As a player, you cannot be afraid to get hit," Guillen said. "If you're afraid of getting hit, you're going to have a problem. You see a lot of guys in their career if they've been hit in the head or in the wrist, they just kind of stay away from the plate, and that's when they have problems seeing the ball and stuff.
"I've been hit in the head and everywhere. To me, that just makes me madder and move closer to the plate. It's not that I'm diving to the plate, it's just that I hit close to the plate, because I believe I've got to go look for a pitch and, unfortunately, sometimes it's way too close to the plate."
Guillen has been drilled 139 times in his career, tying San Diego's David Eckstein for fifth most among active players. The leader, with 251, is Royals teammate Jason Kendall.
"I've still got him," Kendall said with a grin.
Guillen never has been hit hard enough to go onto the disabled list, although he's missed a few days at times after being hit in the hand or wrist.
"Some guys are pretty good at getting out of the way," he said. "I'm not."
Betancourt returns from concussion
BOSTON -- Shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt returned to the Royals' lineup on Friday night after missing two games because of a slight concussion suffered in a home-plate collision.
Manager Ned Yost said the Royals checked out Betancourt carefully on Friday afternoon when he took early batting practice and rode a bike to get his heart rate running.
Yost wanted to be sure because he'd gone through a difficult time with third baseman Corey Koskie, who suffered a concussion with Milwaukee on July 5, 2006, when both men were with the Brewers.
"I saw this with Corey Koskie," Yost said. "He had a concussion and the symptoms went away in three or four days, but as soon as he started to exert himself, he went right back to square one. That was a test -- to get [Betancourt's] heart rate back up and see how he felt, and he felt fine, no effects."
Koskie suffered his injury when he fell while chasing a foul ball. He tried to come back, but never played again in the Majors, retiring during Spring Training 2009.
Meantime, two injured Royals on the trip, center fielder Rick Ankiel and pitcher John Parrish, were nearing Minor League injury rehabilitation assignments.
Parrish (left rotator cuff inflammation) has been throwing bullpen sessions and soon will graduate into throwing live batting practice. Ankiel (right quad strain) jogged four times around Fenway Park on Friday and the next step is running sprints.
"I had a good day," Ankiel said.
Annual Food Drive set for June 3-5
BOSTON -- If you're grocery shopping for the Memorial Day weekend, the Royals' wives hope you remember to buy a few extra items for their 28th annual Food Drive, which is coming up at Kauffman Stadium.
The drive will run next Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 3-5, with non-perishable food items collected by the players' wives to benefit the Bishop Sullivan Center. Here's the schedule, all times CT:
Thursday, June 3, prior to Angels game: Food collection from noon to 1 p.m. at Gates B and D. Also, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. outside the Diamond Club, mystery grab bags and autographed player cards will be sold.
Friday, June 4, prior to Tigers game: 6 to 8 p.m., food collection and a silent auction outside the Rival Sports Bar. In addition, Bishop Sullivan Center will receive a portion of proceeds from the Royals Charities raffle tickets sold by volunteers up to the fifth inning.
Saturday, June 5, prior to Tigers game: 5:30 to 7 p.m., food collection, mystery grab bags and autographed player cards for sale and silent auction outside Rivals Sports Bar.
Stats uncovered from Fenway blowout
BOSTON -- It was a statistical treasure-hunting Friday night for Royals publicist Mike Swanson. Among the gems he uncovered during his club's 12-5 roasting of the Red Sox:
The 20 hits were the Royals' most at Fenway Park, surpassing the 19 hits on June 1, 2000, in a 13-11 victory. The 12 runs also were their most in Boston since that game.
The back-to-back wins at Boston were the first for Kansas City since July 17-18, 2007.
The seven-run fourth inning was the Royals' biggest since Sept. 24, 2008, in a 10-4 win at Detroit. Jason Kendall's two hits marked the first two-hit inning by a Royals player since Mitch Maier had two in that big fifth at Detroit.
Yuniesky Betancourt's grand slam was the second of his career, the other coming Aug. 11, 2007, when he was with Seattle, against Gavin Floyd at Chicago.
When Kyle Davies struck out David Ortiz in the fourth, it was the 35,000th strikeout by pitchers in Royals history.
Scott Podsednik's run in the seven-run fourth inning was the 500th of his career.
Red Sox infielder-outfielder Bill Hall was the first position player to pitch against the Royals since catcher Tim Laker of Cleveland on April 20, 2004.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.