Nearly five years ago, former Royals manager Ned Yost strolled out towards home plate, with his lineup card in hand, to have a conversation with home plate umpire David Rackley.
In doing so, he removed Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Eric Hosmer from the game simultaneously. It was the last time that Hosmer would play on that field for over 1700 days.
Tonight, the mad dasher played his first baseball game in front of his former home Kauffman Stadium crowd since that day. It was a special moment. And the Royals spoiled it, thanks to a controversial late homer from Salvador Perez, taking game one of a four-game set against the Red Sox 7-3.
Both offenses started the game with a bang. Jaylin Davis began the game with a leadoff walk off Royals’ starter Kris Bubic and moved to third on Tommy Pham’s double. They both scored on Rafael Devers’ single, giving Boston a 2-0 lead.
Eric Hosmer received a standing ovation as he came to the plate with two outs in the first before flying out sharply to end the inning.
He also received a pretty cool video tribute.
MJ Melendez spent no time letting the emotions of that moment settle, cutting the lead in half immediately with his first career leadoff homer. Bobby Witt Jr followed with a single, stole second, took third on a Salvador Perez fly out, and eventually scored on Vinnie Pasquantino sac fly to tie the game at 2-2.
Both starters settled in at that point, but Kansas City continued to apply pressure. Nate Eaton and Nicky Lopez put together back-to-back singles in the 2nd, with a Lopez stolen base putting runners on 2nd and 3rd, but Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta struck out Melendez to end the threat. Michael Massey stayed hot in the 4th, singling and then stealing 2nd but the Royals again stranded him at 2nd.
They got back on the scoreboard with Lopez leading off the 5th with a walk and then stealing his 2nd base of the game before Salvador Perez drove him home with a single, putting Kansas City up 3-2. A Pasquantino double put runners on 2nd and 3rd with two outs but Pivetta again avoided further damage by retiring Hunter Dozier.
Through five innings, Kansas City logged seven hits and a walk, along with four stolen bases. Meanwhile, Bubic settled in much more smoothly. After giving up two first inning runs and allowing the first three Red Sox on base, Bubic retired 17 of the last 19 batters he faced, facing just one over the minimum.
Mike Matheny removed him for Taylor Clarke for the 7th despite having thrown just 89 pitches and it backfired. Christian Arroyo doubled with two outs, allowing Kevin Plawecki to drive him in with an RBI single to tie the game at 3-3. Jarren Duran followed with a walk to put the go-ahead run on 2nd for pinch-hitter Alex Verdugo, but Clarke struck him out looking to end the inning.
The Royals took the lead right back in the 7th, blowing it open in the process. Lopez walked again to lead off the inning, moving to third on a Melendez single. Lopez scored on Witt Jr’s second single of the night, putting Kansas City up 4-3. Perez followed with a three-run homer off the foul pole, making it a 7-3 game. The homer was reviewed, but stood as called.
His homer hit the very bottom of the foul pole, which looks a bit like a part of the wall rather than the pole, which caused some confusion. Red Sox manager Alex Cora was ejected for arguing the call after replay confirmed the call.
Following Clarke’s struggles, Dylan Coleman and Scott Barlow finished Boston off in the 8th and 9th with relative ease to end the game.
The Royals improve to 42-64 while the Red Sox dip below .500 at 53-54.
Up Next: Royals v. Red Sox, Friday, August 5, 7:10 PM CDT, Kauffman Stadium. RHP Zack Greinke (3-6, 4.41 ERA) v. RHP Josh Winckowski (4-5, 5.00 ERA)