A second consecutive no-show by the Boston Red Sox’s offense resulted in another Kansas City Royals win Wednesday afternoon in Game 1 of a day-night doubleheader at Kauffman Stadium.
Steven Wright tossed eight strong innings and Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his major league-best hitting streak to 23 games, but neither was enough to prevent the Red Sox from falling 3-2 to the defending World Series champs.
GAME IN A WORD
Wright shook off a rough start his last time out to turn in an excellent outing for the Red Sox, scattering five hits and three runs over eight innings while walking just one and striking out six. Boston’s offense failed to back him up, however, posting its lowest run total since May 7 in the loss.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
With Kansas City leading 3-2 in the top of the eighth inning, Xander Bogaerts attempted to go from first to third on a single by David Ortiz but was gunned down by Royals right fielder Jarrod Dyson.
Travis Shaw flied out in the next at-bat to end the inning, and the Red Sox failed to push across the tying run in the ninth against Royals closer Wade Davis.
The only hit Davis allowed was a one-out single by Bradley, who’d gone hitless in his first three at-bats.
ON THE BUMP
— Wright’s knuckleball did not fool the Royals in the first inning. Alcides Escobar led off the home half of the first with a single, and Eric Hosmer got all of a Wright offering two batters later, hammering it over the center field fence for a two-run home run.
But from that point on, Wright looked like the pitcher the Red Sox had seen in his first six starts this season. The veteran right-hander faced the minimum over the next four frames, walking one batter in the second inning but wiping him off the basepaths with an inning-ending double play.
It wasn’t until the sixth that Kansas City finally got to him. Dyson led off the inning with a triple to right field and later scored on a sacrifice fly, putting the Royals ahead 3-2.
Two more scoreless innings followed, with Wright ending his outing by striking out the side in the eighth.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— After producing just one baserunner through the first three innings, the Red Sox’s bats came alive in the fourth.
Dustin Pedroia doubled to lead off the frame, Bogaerts smacked a single and Ortiz followed with a base hit of his own to drive in Pedroia with Boston’s first run of the ballgame.
That’s the only run the Sox managed in the inning, however, as Royals starter Ian Kennedy proceeded to strike out Shaw and Josh Rutledge and get Bradley to ground out to strand runners at the corners.
— Chris Young entered the game hitting just .130 against right-handers this season (compared to his .375 mark against lefties). But with Brock Holt mired in a prolonged slump, manager John Farrell opted to start Young in left field against Kennedy, a right-hander.
That proved to be a wise decision. Young struck out in his first at-bat but ripped a solo homer over the left field fence in his second trip to the plate, tying the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth.
The home run was Young’s first in a Red Sox uniform, and it extended Boston’s streak of games with at least one homer to 18. Another long ball in Wednesday’s nightcap would tie the record for the longest such streak in franchise history.
Pedroia also walked in the fifth inning and took second on a wild pitch, but an incredible defensive play by Escobar on a Bogaerts grounder to short prevented the Red Sox from taking their first lead of the afternoon.
TWEET OF THE GAME
After a few hours of rest, the Sox and Royals will be back for Game 2 of their twin bill, with the first pitch set for 8:15 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Peter G. Aiken/USA TODAY Sports Images