The Royals won back-to-back games for the first time since April 21-22 with an 8-4 win over Boston in the series opener. The boys in blue rapped out eleven hits - five of them extra base hits - and drew four walks in scoring their most runs since they put up eight against Tigers on April 19.
Yordano Ventura looked impressive early on, amping up his velocity into the high 90s in the early innings.
Pedroia literally just said "I can't hit that" after Ventura's painted fastball... pic.twitter.com/Suh6wrS0AF— Shaun Newkirk (@Shauncore) May 18, 2016
He retired the first five batters before giving up a single to Travis Shaw and an RBI double to Jackie Bradley Jr. to give Boston a 1-0 lead.
The Royals would get those runs back in the fourth when Paulo Orlando opened the inning with a triple, surprisingly his first of the year. Alcides Escobar plated him with a ground out, but Eric Hosmer gave the Royals the lead with a laser into the seats for his seventh home run of the year.
The Royals would pour in three more runs off Red Sox starter Rick Porcello with back-to-back-to-back-to-back singles by Salvador Perez, Cheslor Cuthbert, Omar Infante, and Paulo Orlando.
But Yordano Ventura couldn't sustain his good start. After Dustin Pedroia led the sixth off with a single, Ventura plunked Hanley Ramirez with two outs. Rookie Travis Shaw, off to a great start, hit a three-run home run to pull the Red Sox to within a run. Luke Hochevar rescued Ventura to retire the final out of the inning with the Royals still up 5-4. Ventura ended the game allowing four runs in 5 2/3 innings with five strikeouts and one walk
The Royals threatened again in the sixth when Cheslor Cuthbert led off with a double, his third hit of the day. For the first time this year, Porcello had to leave before completing six innings, trailing in the game 5-4. Alcides Escobar was even able to draw a walk, and the runners advanced to second and third with two outs for Lorenzo Cain. But Cain grounded out against reliever Matt Barnes, to keep the lead at one.
Whatever hopes of a Red Sox rally late against the vaunted Royals pen were snuffed out quickly. Xander Bogaerts led off the eighth with a single off reliever Kelvin Herrera. David Ortiz flew out, and Bogaerts was gunned down trying to swipe second by Salvador Perez. Herrera finished off Hanley Ramirez with a nasty slider to strike him out and end the threat.
The Royals put the game away in the home half of the eighth when Salvador Perez led off with a walk. Omar Infante caught the Red Sox napping with a surprise sacrifice bunt, and Red Sox reliever Koji Uehara compounded things by throwing the ball into the right field corner, allowing Salvy to score all the way from first. Paulo Orlando then pounded him for a two-run home run, one of his three hits on the day, and the Royals had a comfortable four-run lead heading into the ninth. Joakim Soria shut the door with a scoreless inning to get the Royals back to .500 on the year, at 19-19.
The Royals outplayed the Red Sox on defense, on the bases, at the plate, and in the bullpen. It was the formula that won the championship, but one we haven't seen in a few weeks. Hopefully bringing a good team into town helps wake this team up to raise their game and play like the champion we know they are capable of becoming.