The Royals played terrific defense and had clutch hitting, backing up a solid performance by Ian Kennedy in a 3-2 win over Boston in Game One of a doubleheader on Wednesday. The Royals managed just five hits, but left just two runners on base in the win. Kansas City has won three straight games for the first time since April 13-15 against Houston and Oakland.
The Royals got on the board in the first inning off knuckleballer Steven Wright. Alcides Escobar led off the inning with a single, stealing second on a pitch that got by catcher Ryan Hanigan. Eric Hosmer then absolutely drilled a home run to centerfield, his eighth of the season, to give the Royals a 2-0 lead.
Eric Hosmer just crushed a pitch going 74.5 MPH at 111.3 MPH and 439ft. Monster HR. #Royals— Daren Willman (@darenw) May 18, 2016
Eric Hosmers 1st inning HR is the highest pitch velocity to exit velocity differential in 2016. He hit a 74.5 MPH pitch 111.3 MPH. +37.8MPH— Daren Willman (@darenw) May 18, 2016
Ian Kennedy looked sharp, racking up strikeouts left and right. He struck out five of the first ten hitters he faced, relying primarily on his fastball to put hitters away. In the fourth, he ran into some trouble when Dustin Pedroia led off with a double. Xander Bogaerts followed up with a single, and David Ortiz singled Pedroia home for the first Boston run.
Red Sox outfielder Chris Young opened the fifth with a long home run to deep left field to tie the game at 2-2. Boston nearly scored another run when Dustin Pedroia drew a two out walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Xander Bogaerts hit a ball in the hole that Alcides Escobar made a Gold Glove-caliber play on, narrowly getting Bogaerts at first base.
Kennedy gave up a single to David Ortiz in the sixth, but Ned Yost let him strike out Travis Shaw and Jose Rutledge before getting Brian Flynn to strike out Jackie Bradley Jr. to end the threat. Kennedy ended his day with a season-high nine strikeouts and just one walk in 5 2/3 innings of work and 116 pitches. The Royals took the lead in the sixth when Jarrod Dyson began the inning with a triple. Alcides Escobar popped out, butLorenzo Cain picked up his teammates with a long drive to left field for a sacrifice fly to easily score Dyson and give the Royals a 3-2 lead.
The Royals flashed some more leather in the eighth. With Xander Boegarts at first base on a single and one out, David Ortiz laced his third hit of the day to right field. Bogaerts tested Dyson's arm, trying to reach third base on the hit, with Dyson gunning him down for his fifth assist of the season, tied for second-most among all outfielders. Wade Davisworked around a single in the ninth to bounce back from his blown save on Sunday and pick up his ninth save of the year.
The Royals jump back over .500 and are ensured of winning their series against one of the top teams in the American League. Tonight, with the help of Edinson Volquez, they can sweep the doubleheader and the series, and give themselves some momentum as they head into Chicago.