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Clement struggles in first game back; Red Sox stay hot

BOSTON (AP) -- Matt Clement's most impressive move was simply
taking the mound for the first time since he was hit in the head by
a line drive.

The fact that he struggled Thursday in his first outing in nine
days meant little to his admiring teammates after the Boston Red
Sox won their season-high eighth straight game, 11-9 over the
Kansas City Royals.

"Let's talk about how much courage Matt had to go out there and
take that ball," catcher Jason Varitek said when asked about his
grand slam in an eight-run fourth inning, Boston's biggest of the
season.

Clement (11-3) allowed six runs in five innings and said he was
rusty. He had thrown just 38 pitches in the previous 13 days, all
at Tampa Bay on July 26 before Carl Crawford's liner struck him
behind the right ear in the third inning.

But he didn't appear timid against the Royals.

"I didn't know how I was going to react. I didn't feel any
lingering effects," Clement said. "Regardless of the fact that I
was able to get a win out of the situation, it's just the fact that
I was [able] to go through the five innings and get to the
100-pitch count."

Edgar Renteria also came back from being hit, although he was
struck by a teammate. The shortstop and left fielder Manny Ramirez
collided in the second inning of Boston's 8-5 win Wednesday night.
Ramirez was sidelined with blurry vision, but manager Terry
Francona said he might play Friday night in Minnesota.

Renteria, who had sore ribs Wednesday, had three hits and drove
in four runs with two doubles.

"I don't think Edgar felt real good. He played a whale of a
game," Francona said. "He's in the middle of everything good
today."

Renteria's three-run double in the fourth tied the score at 5
before Leo Nunez (2-2) gave up Varitek's 17th homer of the season
and first grand slam in 120 career at-bats with the bases loaded.

The Red Sox had just two hits in the inning and were helped by
five walks and two errors.

D.J. Carrasco allowed one hit in 3 2/3 innings for Kansas City,
but left after walking his seventh batter, Johnny Damon, to load
the bases in the fourth. Nunez then gave up Renteria's double,
walked the next two batters and allowed Varitek's grand slam on a
2-0 pitch. Varitek also doubled home Boston's final run in the
eighth.

"They have a veteran lineup and I was trying to be careful
where I threw," Carrasco said. "The seven walks killed us."

Curt Schilling allowed Mike Sweeney's 17th homer leading off the
ninth but earned his eighth save in nine chances.

The Red Sox moved to a season-high 17 games over .500 and ended
their homestand 6-0, the first time in 17 years they were unbeaten
on a homestand of at least six games. The Royals finished their
road trip 0-7.

"Our inexperience really showed," Kansas City manager Buddy
Bell said. "We were really pitching away from contact. ... You
can't do that, especially in this ballpark."

The Royals took a 1-0 lead on Matt Stairs' RBI single in the
first. They made it 5-0 in the third when Emil Brown was hit by a
pitch with the bases loaded and Terrence Long hit a three-run
double.

In the third, Renteria doubled in Damon, who had walked, to make
it 5-1.

Boston's fourth-inning rally began when Carrasco walked Varitek
and Bill Mueller. Alex Cora reached second and Varitek scored when
second baseman Ruben Gotay committed two errors on one play. Then
Damon walked, setting the stage for the big hits by Renteria and
Varitek.

Brown's RBI single made it 9-6 in the fifth before Damon singled
home a run in the bottom half. Kansas City added two runs in the
seventh on Stairs' RBI double and Long's run-scoring groundout.

Game notes
Royals CF David DeJesus left with a mild concussion after
being kneed in the head by Renteria as he stole second in the third
inning. Chip Ambres replaced DeJesus. ... Boston 1B Roberto
Petagine, called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday, batted
fourth in place of Ramirez and went 0-for-3. ... Carrasco's
previous high this year was five walks. ... Varitek extended his
hitting streak to 11 games, and the Red Sox increased their
single-season record to 11 grand slams.