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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, May 9th (All times eastern)

Boston Red Sox (12-17) at Kansas City Royals (10-19), 8:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Boston - Jon Lester (1-2, 4.62) Kansas City - Bruce Chen (0-4, 4.98)

(Sports Network) - Veteran southpaw Bruce Chen, who had a brief stint with Boston nine years ago, makes his 10th career start against his former team tonight when the Kansas City Royals host the Red Sox in the finale of a three- game series at Kauffman Stadium.

A 34-year-old native of Panama, Chen has pitched for nine other major-league teams since being signed by Atlanta and debuting in the majors for the Braves with four starts back in 1998.

He spent time with Philadelphia, the New York Mets, Montreal, Cincinnati, Houston, Baltimore, Texas and now Kansas City in addition to Boston, for whom he made two starts in five appearances and went 0-1 in 2003.

Chen won 12 games for the Royals for the second straight season last year but has struggled to regain the success thus far in 2012 while dropping four decisions in six winless starts.

He was touched for six runs on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings of a 6-2 loss against the New York Yankees in his most recent outing on May 4, marking the fourth time he'd pitched at least six innings and not won.

Kansas City has been outscored, 30-12, in his six appearances.

Chen is 3-6 with a 5.98 earned run average across 52 2/3 innings against the Red Sox, giving up 60 hits and striking out 39 batters.

He's opposed by fellow lefty Jon Lester, who was just 14 when Chen broke into the big leagues.

Lester, who's won 34 games in the past two seasons, began this year with a four-start winless skid before recording a 1-0 defeat of the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on April 28.

He pitched seven innings of five-hit ball in the win, walking just one batter while striking out seven.

He tossed six innings and allowed three runs in one subsequent outing on May 4, but did not factor in the decision in Boston's 6-4 loss to Baltimore.

The Red Sox are 2-4 in games he's pitched.

Lester is 5-1 in seven lifetime starts against the Royals with a stingy 1.30 ERA.

On Tuesday, Billy Butler hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning Tuesday night to lift the Royals to a 6-4 win.

"The way things have been going we haven't come back late in games," Butler said. "Hopefully that gets us going. Obviously games like that build confidence, not only for me but for the team. Hopefully we can feed off that and have a winning homestand."

The Royals evened up their six-game homestand against the Yankees and Red Sox on Butler's blast off Matt Albers, who had just come into the game for Boston starter Daniel Bard (2-4).

Jarrod Dyson and Alex Gordon drew back-to-back walks before Butler launched a 1-1 pitch into the fountain behind left-center field.

"I can sit here and second guess if I just execute," Albers said, "but I didn't stay back over the rubber quite enough and the ball leaked over the plate and he's a good hitter."

Jose Mijares (2-1) gave up two singles but faced just seven batters in the seventh and eighth innings to earn the win. Royals starter Danny Duffy, who beat the Yankees his last time out, gave up four runs - three earned - in 4 1/3 innings.

The Red Sox have won eight of their past 12 versus the Royals.

05/09 10:51:59 ET

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