BOSTON — The Red Sox started the second half with a bang.
The Red Sox rallied from a three-run deficit Friday to defeat the Kansas City Royals 5-4 at Fenway Park. Xander Bogaerts and Jonny Gomes hit a pair of two-run homers in the sixth inning to propel Boston to victory.
Let’s dive into what transpired as the second half officially kicked off.
– Clay Buchholz earned his fifth win of the season. The Royals produced 10 hits against Buchholz, but the right-hander again didn’t issue any walks en route to a six-inning effort.
Buchholz is 3-1 with a 3.28 ERA over his last five starts since coming off the disabled list June 25. He has pitched at least six innings in all five starts and has allowed just one walk over 35 2/3 innings.
– Buchholz, who also pitched Boston’s final game before the All-Star break, was the first Red Sox pitcher since Hideo Nomo in 2001 — before and after the Sept. 11 attacks — to start back-to-back team games.
Buchholz became the first Red Sox pitcher to start and win consecutive team games since Don Schwall in 1961.
– Bogaerts’ home run was his first extra-base hit since June 13. He entered the game hitting .132 (5-for-38) in July.
“He stayed behind the ball, where in a number of swings, we see him get out to his front side and he’s kind of lunging forward,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Bogaerts’ home run. “There was good leverage to his swing. And to drive the ball out of the ballpark to center field, you’ve got to have some things work correctly in your swing and that was the case tonight.”
– Gomes once again showed a flair for the dramatic in launching a pinch-hit, go-ahead homer. The veteran outfielder provided a spark throughout 2013, and he has been at the center of this season’s few bright spots.
“I wouldn’t say I thrive,” Gomes said of his knack for coming through in clutch situations. “To tell you the truth, it’s something I have to do. You take that away from my tools and what I bring to the club, you might not be seeing much of No. 5. So it’s one of my tasks, one of my jobs that I have here and I just have to do my best to (have) success in that role.”
Gomes now has six pinch-hit home runs as a member of the Red Sox. He passed Joe Cronin to take over sole possession of second place on the franchise’s all-time list and trails Ted Williams by just one pinch-hit blast.
“You can go ahead and get it out there, I’m not chasing any of Ted Williams’ records,” Gomes joked after the game. “To break it all down, I’m just extremely fortunate and grateful for the opportunity to wear the same uniform that guy wore. Individual records don’t matter. I’m here trying to collect championships.”
– Drew collected two hits, raising his average to .167.
– The combination of Burke Badenhop, Andrew Miller, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara nailed down the final three innings.
Miller was particularly impressive, striking out Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez in the seventh inning.
Tazawa stranded a runner at third base in the eighth inning.
– Friday’s win marked the Red Sox’s 18th come-from-behind victory this season.
– Will Middlebrooks and Shane Victorino continued their respective injury rehabs at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Middlebrooks played the entire game at third base. He went 0-for-2 with a sacrifice fly and a hit by pitch.
Victorino played six innings in right field. He went 1-for-4 with a double. It’s possible Victorino could be activated Saturday.