Boston — Paul Byrd pitched the way he did three years ago when he earned a spot in the All-Star game at Fenway Park.
Byrd allowed two runs and five hits in 71/3 innings as the Kansas City Royals ended Boston's four-game winning streak 6-2 Wednesday night, the first loss for the Red Sox since opening day.
"I have such great memories" of the 1999 All-Star game, Byrd said. Then a member of the Philadelphia Phillies, he did not pitch in the game.
Byrd has recovered from shoulder problems that bothered him the past two years, and pitched very well against a team that started the game hitting .311 with 13 homers in five games.
"They have a great hitting team and it makes you concentrate a little more," said Byrd (2-0). "I'm not scared facing them."
Brian Daubach, who hit his second homer in two days and a single against Byrd, said, "He's a good pitcher. It's not long ago that he was an All-Star."
Mike Sweeney went 3-for-4 with two doubles, two runs and an RBI. Chuck Knoblauch went 2-for-3, tied his career high with three stolen bases, was hit by a pitch and laid down a sacrifice bunt.
"I've always had trouble with Chuck Knoblauch. I've pretty much given up the fact of getting him out," said Derek Lowe (1-1).
Lowe allowed two runs and eight hits in seven innings. It was his first start since holding Baltimore hitless for seven innings in a 3-0 win last Friday night. Rich Garces gave up Kansas City's last four runs in the eighth.
Byrd didn't allow a walk for his second straight start and left with one out in the eighth when he gave up singles to Shea Hillenbrand and Jason Varitek. Hillenbrand scored on Carlos Baerga's sacrifice fly off Brian Shouse.
With closer Roberto Hernandez sidelined with elbow problems, Cory Bailey got four outs for the first save of his career. He struck out three, including Nomar Garciaparra with two runners on and two outs in the eighth.
"I wasn't thinking about a save situation," Bailey said. "I was just trying to get Nomar out. That could have been a big inning."
Knoblauch led off the game with a single and, after a stolen base, scored on Sweeney's double.
Daubach's second homer of the season tied it in the second. The Royals made it 2-1 in the fourth when Sweeney doubled and scored on Brent Mayne's single.
Garces gave up hits to the first four batters in the eighth. Carlos Beltran singled, stole second and took third on Sweeney's single. The next four batters each drove in a run on a single by Michael Tucker, a double by Joe Randa and sacrifice flies by Raul Ibanez and Mayne.
The Royals loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth, but Sweeney grounded into a home-to-first double play.
Notes: Lowe made his fifth start since moving from the bullpen into Boston's rotation last Sept. 22. For the first time in that stretch, he allowed a run in the first six innings. ... Royals pitchers have walked four batters in 43 1-3 innings. ... Kansas City stole five bases against Varitek, who is 0-for-8 against stealers after missing most of last season with a broken right elbow. ... More than 5,000 Boston firefighters and EMTs were guests of the Red Sox at the game.