Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 5, Royals 4
July, 18, 2014
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- No point in putting an hourglass in a corner of the center-field video board. The Red Sox are well aware that time is not exactly their ally.
But the Sox came out of the All-Star break picking up where they’d left off when the season came to a halt. Down three runs to the Kansas City Royals, the Sox struck for four runs in the sixth to beat the Royals 5-4 for their fifth win in the past six games.
Rookie Xander Bogaerts hit a two-run home run off Royals starter James Shields to make it 4-3, and, after a double by Stephen Drew, Jonny Gomes greeted reliever Scott Downs with a pinch, two-run home run that accounted for the difference.
Oh, for the long ball: The Sox had not hit two home runs in a game in 15 games, dating to June 28 against the Yankees. They had not hit two home runs in an inning since David Ortiz and Mike Napoli both took Twins reliever Casey Fien deep in the 10th inning on June 18, a span of 24 games.
Jonny Ballgame: Gomes’ pinch-hit home run was his sixth since joining the Red Sox -- two this season and four in 2013. The only Sox player with more pinch home runs? Ted Williams, with seven.
Buchholz backtracks: Clay Buchholz, coming off a 12-K, 3-hit shutout last Sunday in Houston, was cuffed around for 10 hits and four runs in six innings Friday night. A wall-ball double by Omar Infante and a wall-ball single by Eric Hosmer gave the Royals a 1-0 lead in the first, four straight hits in the fourth accounted for two more runs, and Nori Aoki grounded a single up the middle, stole second, took third on a passed ball and scored on Hosmer’s single in the fifth. Buchholz did not walk a batter and struck out three.
Big fly for Bogey: Bogaerts’ home run just to the right of the camera well in center was his first long ball in 90 at-bats. It also was an encouraging sign that the break might have come at the right time for the 21-year-old rookie, who was batting .134 over the past six weeks.
Monster Miller: Andrew Miller, who entered with a runner on first and one out in the seventh, preserved the Sox lead by striking out Hosmer and Salvador Perez, who had combined for five hits in their first six at-bats. Miller has not allowed a run in his past 19 appearances at Fenway and has allowed only two of 25 inherited runners to score, a percentage of .08 that is lowest among all qualifying AL relievers.
Junichi Tazawa followed Miller to the mound in the eighth and put himself in a jam when he gave up a leadoff single to Alex Gordon, then threw wildly on a pickoff attempt, allowing Gordon to advance to second. Billy Butler's fly ball advanced Gordon to third with one out, but two groundouts to a drawn-in Sox infield enabled Tazawa to escape.
Koji Time: Koji Uehara, an All-Star for the first time here at age 39 after making eight All-Star teams in Japan, struck out the only batter he faced in the All-Star Game but hadn’t pitched for the Sox since he gave up a two-run home run to pinch hitter Conor Gillaspie and blew a save against the White Sox on July 10. He recorded his 19th save here, but not before giving up a two-out double in the ninth to Infante. With a crowd of 37,743 on its feet, Uehara retired the dangerous Hosmer on a ground ball to end it.
Hot Hosmer: The Royals first baseman extended his hitting streak to 14 games with his three hits.
Cool Cain: Royals leadoff man Lorenzo Cain is now zero for his past 20 after going 0-for-5, striking out three times and grounding out twice.