BOSTON — The Kansas City Royals probably would rather face any other team right now.
The Red Sox continued their dominance of the Royals with a 7-2 win Friday night at Fenway Park. Boston is 10-2 against Kansas City dating back to the beginning of last season. The Sox have outscored the Royals 67-36 in those 12 contests.
Boston has rattled off four straight victories on the current homestand.
GAME IN A WORD
The Red Sox have been criticized all season for not having a front-line starter, yet Boston continues to feast on the aces of the world. Johnny Cueto, one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball (and potential Red Sox offseason target?), looked completely normal Friday against Boston’s hot offense.
Cueto entered the start ranked 10th in the majors with a 2.46 ERA. He allowed seven runs (six earned) on 13 hits over six innings. It marked the first time Cueto allowed 10 or more hits since June 2013.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Josh Rutledge launched a two-run home run in the sixth inning to continue his assault on Cueto. It was Rutledge’s first homer as a member of the Red Sox and it put Boston ahead 7-2.
Boston jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Blake Swihart knocked in two runs with a double — Rusney Castillo made a good read and scored when shortstop Alcides Escobar botched the relay throw — and Mookie Betts added a single moments later that plated the catcher from third base.
Swihart and Betts extended Boston’s lead to 5-1 with run-scoring singles in the fourth inning, at which point the Red Sox appeared to be in total control. You just never know with Boston’s bullpen, though, so Rutledge’s home run after the Royals scored in the top of the sixth inning was big.
ON THE BUMP
— Henry Owens outpitched his more proven counterpart.
Owens tossed a career-high eight innings in his fourth major league start. The left-hander allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits while striking out four and walking one. He threw 103 pitches (64 strikes).
The only earned run Owens allowed came on a leadoff home run by Escobar in the sixth inning.
— Heath Hembree recorded the final three outs.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Betts finished with three hits (double, two singles) and an RBI.
— Swihart led the charge with four hits (two doubles, two singles), two RBIs and three runs scored.
— Castillo had two hits, including a triple over center fielder Lorenzo Cain’s head in the fourth inning, and scored two runs. He showed excellent acceleration while rounding second base on the triple.
— Rutledge simply owns Cueto, which is weird.
He entered the game 3-for-3 in his career against Cueto and built on his success by going 2-for-3 against the right-hander. The home run, of course, was Rutledge’s knockout blow against the Royals ace.
— Travis Shaw, who has been sizzling of late, went 1-for-4 with a double and three strikeouts.
— David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez went a combined 0-for-8 with two strikeouts.
TWEET OF THE GAME
No ace is safe.
Sox put Cueto in same dunk tank as King Felix, Corey Kluber. Startling, to say the least—
Gordon Edes (@GordonEdes) August 21, 2015
The Red Sox will look to continue throttling the Royals on Saturday night at Fenway Park. Matt Barnes will face Yordano Ventura in the third game of the teams’ four-game set.
Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images
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