(John Sleezer, Kansas City Star)
Thursday: Boston Red Sox 1, Kansas City Royals, 5
Loss : Jon Lester (10-7) Win: Bruce Chen (5-0) Save: Luke Hochevar (2)
After a tough, gritty series against the Houston Astros, the Red Sox packed their bags and headed on the road to Kansas City to face a streaking Royals team who was determined to make a statement by winning a series against one of the American League’s elite teams. Things started out rough for Lester as he allowed three runs in the first inning. Alex Gordon hit a sacrifice fly to left field that would not have amounted to anything run-wise, however Jonny Gomes dropped the ball as it looked as though he was focused on leaning his body forward in order to make a proper throw to home plate, and that put him off-balance.
The other two runs came courtesy of Mike Moustakas as he singled on a line drive to right fielder Shane Victorino. That scored Billy Butler and Alex Gordon, capping off the Royals’ offensive explosion in the first.
The Royals did not strike again until the bottom of the eighth as Billy Butler hit his 10th home run of the year to give the Royals a 4-0 advantage. Two batters later, Justin Maxwell provided some thunder of his own, blasting his fourth dinger of the year to right center field and the Royals took a 5-0 advantage, their offensive production done for the evening.
Stephen Drew kept the score respectable as he singled to left field following a Jonny Gomes double, scoring Gomes. Alas, no magic was to be had this evening as the Royals closed the door behind one and one-third innings of work from Luke Hochevar and the Royals took Game One of the series by a 5-1 margin.
Friday: Boston Red Sox 6, Kansas City Royals 9
Loss: Drake Britton (1-1) Win: Francisley Bueno (1-0)
Fresh off of a win Thursday night, the Royals looked to keep the good vibes going in Game Two of the series. Jake Peavy took the hill for the Sox while Ervin Santana opposed him. Peavy lasted five innings giving up 10 hits and six runs (all earned) while striking out two, and Santana did not perform much better, lasting three and two-thirds innings after surrendering nine hits and six runs (all earned) while striking out two.
The Red Sox struck first as Daniel Nava singled to right field scoring Shane Victorino and giving Boston a 1-0 edge. However in the bottom of the second, the Royals’ Justin Maxwell changed all that as he hit a solo home run to left, his fifth of the season and in the process tied the game at one.
David Ortiz made sure that the game did not stay tied for long as he hit a solo shot of his own, his 22nd of the year and put the Red Sox back on top 2-1. After Mike Napoli was hit by a pitch and Stephen Drew singled, Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled scoring Napoli.
The offensive battle continued as in the bottom of the third frame, Alex Gordon hit a line drive homer to center field to bring the Royals back within a run, 3-2. Keeping pace with the offensive explosion, Mike Napoli doubled in the top of the fourth, scoring Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, and Daniel Nava.
From there, it was all Royals as the bottom of the sixth inning proved fatal for the Red Sox. Alcides Escobar singled to right field scoring Justin Maxwell and then David Lough flied out to Shane Victorino, but that was enough to bring in Mike Moustakas from third. Keeping the offense going, Eric Hosmer singled to right scoring Alcides Escobar and then Billy Butler joined the hit parade next as he doubled, scoring Eric Hosmer. The final tally of the inning came courtesy of Justin Maxwell as he singled, scoring Butler.
Saturday: Kansas City Royals 3, Boston Red Sox, 5
Loss: Jeremy Guthrie (12-8) Win: Brandon Workman (3-1)
The Royals looked to make it three in a row heading into Saturday’s contest but with Felix Doubront on the bump, a win was not guaranteed. Doubront had a rough day however as he lasted only four innings giving up six hits and three runs (all earned) while walking four and striking out three. His rough day was nothing compared to Jeremy Guthrie’s as the Royal surrendered 10 hits and five runs (all earned) while walking one and striking out five.
The Boston bats did not strike until the fourth inning however as Stephen Drew doubled, scoring Mike Carp who had walked to begin the inning. Will Middlebrooks followed Drew’s lead with a single, scoring Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Drew, making it a 3-0 game. The final tally of the inning came when Jacoby Ellsbury doubled, scoring Will Middlebrooks and the Red Sox ended the inning with a 4-0 lead.
It was not until the bottom of the fifth that the Royals bats got going. After Alcides Escobar walked to begin things, Eric Hosmer doubled to drive him in. Next it was Billy Butler who returned the favor as he doubled and in turn, scored Hosmer. Miguel Tejada then singled, scoring Hosmer and that was all for the Royals attack in the bottom of the fifth.
The Red Sox added one more run to their tally as Jacoby Ellsbury doubled in the top of the sixth, scoring Middlebrooks, and the Red Sox held on for the 5-3 win.
Sunday: Kansas City Royals 4, Boston Red Sox 3
Win: James Shields (7-8) Loss: John Lackey (7-10)
The Red Sox came into Sunday’s game looking to salvage the split, but a rough outing by John Lackey (seven innings, seven hits, four earned runs) doomed the Red Sox as the bats were mostly stymied by James Shields the entire game.
A throwing error by Royals catcher Salvador Perez allowed Shane Victorino (who was on third) to score and the Red Sox jumped out an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Kansas City struck in the bottom of the first as Alex Gordon singled scoring David Lough.
In the bottom of the second, Jarrod Dyson singled on a ground ball to Shane Victorino scoring Mike Moustakas and the Royals jumped out to a 2-1 lead. The Royals were not done however as David Lough singled scoring Dyson. In the bottom of the third, Alex Gordon homered to right field making the score 4-1.
The Red Sox would score again in the top of the sixth asRyan Lavarnway singled to right scoring Daniel Nava and Stephen Drew, but the Royals bullpen held firm closing the door and giving the Royals the series win.
The Red Sox will begin a three-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday. The first pitch is 7:07 PM.