BOSTON — The recent Red Sox hot streak came to an end Sunday afternoon as the Royals snapped the Red Sox’ seven-game wining streak with a 4-2 win in Game 1 of a day-night doubleheader at Fenway Park. It was the longest Red Sox winning streak since June 12, 2011.
Another Red Sox streak was stopped as starting pitcher Ryan Dempster was the first Red Sox starter to allow more than three runs in a start this season. The streak spanned 16 starts, the longest in more than 50 years in the American League to open a season. Dempster went seven innings, allowing four runs on six hits while striking out eight.
“I thought he pitched with equal effectiveness as he has in his previous starts this season,” said manager John Farrell. “I thought once again Ryan felt strong and wanted to go back out for the seventh inning and did a solid job for us today.”
After the Red Sox led 2-1 after one, the Royals scored three times in the fourth inning to take the 4-2 and never looked back. The big blow was a two-out, two-RBI single from catcher Salvador Perez. Clayton Mortensen and Alex Wilson pitched two scoreless innings of relief for the Red Sox. Ervin Santana was outstanding for the Royals after the first inning as he retired 17 of the last 18 Red Sox hitters he faced.
Offensively the Red Sox were led by David Ortiz (RBI) and Daniel Nava as they had three and two hits respectively. The bottom of the lineup struggled, as the No. 5- No. 9 hitters went a combined 1-for-19 on the afternoon.
Allen Webster will make his major league debut in the nightcap (7:00, NESN), and be opposed by Jeremy Gutherie.
What they’ll be saying: Although it is just one game, a concern going into the season was the middle to backend of the lineup and how they would be able to produce. It showed today with the 1-for-19 performance from hitters No.’s 5-9. A major piece to that is Will Middlebrooks, who is in the midst of a major slump. Since his three home run game in Toronto he is 4-for-36 with 15 strikeouts. He along with the other members of the middle to backend of the order will certainly need to do better than what they showed today going forward … Although Dempster took the loss, it still was a solid outing as he just hit a rough patch in the fourth inning. Even though he is winless on the season, the Red Sox have certainly been impressed with the 35-year-old this season as he has kept the team in every game he’s pitched.