Sox Host Royals

It only took one weekend series for the Boston Red Sox to end their struggles. They also hope it helps them start building momentum this week.

The Red Sox look to pick up their fourth consecutive victory, and season high-tying seventh straight at Fenway Park, when they open a four-game set versus the Kansas City Royals on Monday.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Boston -162 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 9.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 67% of bets for this game have been placed on Boston -162 (View MLB Bet Percentages). Bet this game.

Boston (27-19) stumbled into its series with Milwaukee having lost four in a row - all on the road - but picked up two wins Saturday by taking both games of a doubleheader. The Red Sox extended their run Sunday, completing a sweep of the Brewers with an 11-7 victory to move atop the AL East.

David Ortiz homered twice and drove in four runs in the series finale for the Red Sox, who pounded out 15 hits and tied a season high with four homers.

"It's good to score double-digit runs," second baseman Dustin Pedroia told Boston's official Web site after homering for the first time this season. "It's definitely huge for us to keep adding on runs and to keep winning."

Manny Ramirez remained two home runs shy of becoming the 24th player in major league history to hit 500.

The Red Sox, in the midst of a seven-game homestand, won their sixth straight at Fenway - their longest run at home since a seven-game streak April 12-22.

Victories against Kansas City (21-22), however, haven't come easy for Boston.

The Red Sox have dropped eight of their last 12 meetings with the Royals, including four of six at Fenway. The teams split a six-game set in 2007 after Kansas City took two of three at Boston.

The Red Sox haven't lost three straight home games to the Royals since a five-game skid from April 26-July 23, 1996. They'll also be looking to avoid their first three-game skid in the overall series since dropping five straight from Aug. 8-Sept. 9, 2006.

Plus, Kansas City comes in hot, beating Florida 9-3 on Sunday to win for the sixth time in seven games.

Jose Guillen homered and drove in four runs to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. He's 19-for-38 (.500) with two homers and 15 RBIs during that span.

The outfielder has raised his average from .165 to .245 during the streak.

"I know there was a lot of panic early in the season - what's going on with this guy, getting paid all that money?" said Guillen, who signed a $36 million, three-year contract in December. "Everything has been coming into place at the right time."

Guillen looks to keep rolling against the Red Sox, who will send Jon Lester (2-2, 3.95 ERA) to the mound.

Lester - 1-0 with a 3.73 ERA in his last seven starts - hasn't received a decision in his last two outings, both Boston defeats. He yielded two runs and five hits over six innings in a 6-3 loss at Baltimore on Wednesday.

The left-hander is 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts against Kansas City, both coming two years ago. He allowed one hit and walked four in eight innings of a 1-0 home victory July 18, 2006.

Kansas City counters with Luke Hochevar (3-2, 3.94), who's won three of his last four starts. In his most recent outing, the right-hander limited Detroit to four hits and three walks, while striking out five over six innings of a 2-0 victory Wednesday.

Hochevar will make his first start versus Boston and Ramirez, who's batting .334 with 37 homers and 112 RBIs in 113 games against the Royals. Bet this game.

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