These aren’t your older brother’s Royals of the last decade as the Red Sox have quickly discovered - this team is actually pretty good (17-4 since the All-Star break; they’ve won 15 of their last 17). Kansas City (60-53) beat Boston (70-48) for the second night in a row at Kauffman Stadium, this time 9-6 after it won 5-1 on Thursday. The Royals had 16 hits and the game turned in the sixth inning when the Red Sox led 6-3 but Kansas City scored six runs. The Red Sox blew three separate leads (1-0, 3-2 & 6-3) in this frustrating loss.
Neither starting pitcher was effective as Jake Peavy and Ervin Santana were both charged with six earned runs. The difference was Kansas City’s bullpen which went 5.1 scoreless innings, allowing only two hits. All-Star closer Greg Holland had a 1-2-3 ninth with two strikeouts for his 31st save of the season. Boston relievers Drake Britton (2 earned runs) and Pedro Beato (3 hits) were the first guys out of the bullpen and they didn’t bail Peavy out when he desperately needed help.
Daniel Nava had an RBI single in the first but Justin Maxwell (3 hits) homered for the second straight game and David Lough had an RBI single for a 2-1 Royals lead in the second. David Ortiz (2 hits) hit a solo homer in the third (his 22nd of the season) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2 hits) gave Boston a 3-2 lead in the third with an RBI double. Alex Gordon tied it with a solo homer in the third but Mike Napoli (2 hits) broke out of his major slump with a three-run double in the fourth. Kansas City kept getting on base in the sixth: Alcides Escobar (2 hits), Eric Hosmer (3 hits) and Maxwell had RBI singles with two scoring on Hosmer’s hit, Billy Butler (3 hits) had an RBI double and Lough drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
Felix Doubront (8-5) will try to get the Red Sox back on the winning track Saturday night (7:10, NESN) against former Oriole Jeremy Guthrie (12-7).
What they'll be saying: Peavy came back to Earth quickly after his promising start (7+ innings, 2 earned runs, 4 hits, 7 strikeouts) on Saturday vs. Arizona. He threw 73 pitches in the first three innings and perhaps more troubling, he allowed 10 hits without striking anyone out in five plus innings. Brock Holt went 0 for 4 and he’s 1 for his last 19 so expect Brandon Snyder in the lineup on Saturday and playing third base. Bigger picture, it’s time to either call up super prospect Xander Bogaerts or give Will Middlebrooks another chance. It’s a small sample size (5 games) but Kansas City has Boston’s number more than any other team in the American League: they are 4-1 with two more games left in this series and in the season. It is time to take the Royals seriously, they probably won’t make the playoffs in 2013 but they are finally building a contender thanks to an abundance of high draft picks that have panned out.