The Red Sox rode a solid Jon Lester start to a 6-1 win over the Royals today, but couldn't reclaim first place from the Yankees.
New York retained its half-game lead in the AL East with a 3-0 victory over the Twins.
Lester threw six innings of one-run, three-hit ball for Boston (77-49). Carl Crawford and Darnell McDonald homered in the road triumph. Lefty Danny Duffy took the loss for Kansas City despite posting a statistical quality start.
The Sox broke a scoreless tie in the top of the fifth when Jason Varitek plated Jed Lowrie with a triple to right-center. McDonald and Crawford homered in the sixth and seventh, and a three-run outburst in the eighth -- keyed by Ryan Lavarnway's RBI double -- sealed things.
Daniel Bard picked up his 30th hold with two runs of perfect relief. Dan Wheeler finished the game with a scoreless ninth.
Unfortunately for Boston, the Yankees (77-48) were just as good in Minnesota. New York's win was highlighted by back-to-back home runs in the seventh: an inside-the-parker by Curtis Granderson and a traditional shot by Mark Teixeira.
Alex Rodriguez went 0-for-5 in his return from the DL. The third baseman had missed more than a month of action after undergoing right knee surgery.