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TOR@BOS: Lester strikes out Lind to end Jays' fourth

Boston's Jon Lester will make his anticipated return from the disabled list Monday at Fenway Park, facing a Royals team that has won four of its last five.

Lester, on the DL since July 8 with a strained left latissimus -- near his shoulder -- is expected to throw about 80 or 90 pitches, Boston manager Terry Francona said earlier this week. Francona said the Red Sox are happy Lester went pain-free through his recovery and want to keep him that way.

"Now it's about building up endurance where, if you go out and let a guy throw 120 his first time out, he's going to be sore. So you don't want to do that," Francona said. "You try to balance winning the game and bringing him along where he can get on a roll. When that bell rings, he's going to forget about 'I've been down for a couple weeks.' He's going to go out there and fire and try to win. And that's good, but we've got to keep an eye on him."

Lester has dominated the Royals throughout his career, going 4-1 with a 1.22 ERA in five starts.

Trying to cool off the hot Red Sox bats that have outscored opponents 131-83 in the club's last 20 games is right-hander Kyle Davies. Davies has lost his last eight starts, but struck out a season-high nine in his last outing against the White Sox.

Davies also will have to deal with Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who has a 21-game hitting streak, the longest in the American League this season. Pedroia is hitting .385, with eight doubles, seven home runs and 21 runs scored during the streak.

Royals: Walk-off warriors
The Royals have a Major League-leading 11 walk-off wins this season, one ahead of San Francisco entering Sunday. Their latest came Friday, when rookie Eric Hosmer delivered the game-winning hit. Along with the walk-offs, Kansas City also is 9-6 in extra innings. Reliever Tim Collins said the Royals' attitude has led them to have success in those situations.

"We're just a team that doesn't give up, man," Collins said. "We've lost a lot of one-run ballgames that easily could have been a win in our column. We have a lot of fight, we have guys who have a lot of heart. We're here, we want to win."

• The Royals shouldn't have to worry about any injuries to their starters, as the club is expected to roll with a six-man rotation for the foreseeable future. Manager Ned Yost said he sees the positive and negative of a six-man staff.

"Especially with the off-days built in, they're pitching every seventh day, which I don't really like, but that's the way that it is," Yost said. "But yeah, you don't worry so much about pitch counts getting elevated past 110, 115 like you normally would on a five-man."

Red Sox: Crawford heating up
Carl Crawford has recorded a hit in his last five games, including a 3-for-4 performance Sunday. Crawford entered the game only 6-for-20 since returning from his hamstring injury, but Francona said prior to the Sunday's game he was confident Crawford would get going.

"I actually think he's looking better," Francona said. "He got rewarded, got a couple hits in that first game. I thought that relaxed him at the plate."

• Right-hander Clay Buchholz is scheduled to throw a side session before Monday's game. Buchholz hasn't pitched since June 16 because of back pain.

Worth noting
• Despite Sunday's loss, the Royals recently completed their first winning homestand since April 29-May 8.

• On Monday, Boston tries to tie its longest home winning streak since a 10-gamer from August 28-Sept. 16, 2009.

• Royals outfielder Melky Cabrera is a .389 (7-for-18) career hitter against Lester.

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