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Keller stumbles after Royals provide early lead

Rookie right-hander cruises before Red Sox strike in 4-run 5th
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- Rookie right-hander Brad Keller seemingly was cruising along with a three-run lead and two outs and no one on in the fifth. Suddenly the wheels came off.

Keller gave up four runs in the inning, three on a bases-clearing double by Xander Bogaerts, and the Royals went on to lose to the Red Sox, 15-4, on Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium. Kansas City has lost eight straight and 26 of 30.

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KANSAS CITY -- Rookie right-hander Brad Keller seemingly was cruising along with a three-run lead and two outs and no one on in the fifth. Suddenly the wheels came off.

Keller gave up four runs in the inning, three on a bases-clearing double by Xander Bogaerts, and the Royals went on to lose to the Red Sox, 15-4, on Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium. Kansas City has lost eight straight and 26 of 30.

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Keller's night came undone when he gave up a single to Mookie Betts, a walk to Andrew Benintendi, and an RBI single to J.D. Martinez. Keller walked Mitch Moreland on four pitches to load the bases. Keller then fell behind Bogaerts, 2-1, and served up a belt-high four-seamer over the middle of the plate -- Bogaerts didn't miss and smashed a bases-clearing drive to the wall in center.

Video: BOS@KC: Bogaerts clears the bases with a double

"He was one pitch away [of getting out of the fifth]," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "But that's a patient team over there. You just kept waiting, but that's a team … we gave up 10 walks going into the ninth."

Keller admitted he was just a little off most of the game.

"I definitely didn't have my best stuff or my best command," Keller said. "I made some good pitches to get out of some jams, but definitely didn't have my good stuff.

"I was trying to go on the attack mode [in the fifth]. You get two outs and you just try to stay on the attack, and unfortunately it snowballed on me.

"I made some good pitches that in the past I got swings at, but tonight they didn't swing at. They're a disciplined team, a good-hitting team."

Bogaerts' double gave the Red Sox a 4-3 lead and chased Keller. The Royals fought back to tie the score, but their bullpen gave up three runs in the seventh -- two off Jason Adam.

Video: BOS@KC: Duda cranks a solo homer to right field

Lucas Duda gave the Royals a 1-0 lead against David Price in the second with his seventh home run. Duda also was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the fifth that tied the score at 4.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
There were some bright spots for Keller. The Red Sox had runners on first and second in the third inning with one out, down 1-0. Keller, though, struck out Martinez on a 1-2 four-seam fastball, then he got Moreland to ground into the overshift as second baseman Whit Merrifield threw him out from short right field.

"At the time, that was a confidence boost," Keller said. "To win that battle against such a good hitter like J.D., and then be aggressive with [Moreland], that was good."

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Royals backup catcher Drew Butera was called upon to get the final out of the ninth inning after Brandon Maurer (five runs in two-thirds of an inning) could not. Butera walked three and gave up two hits and two runs before inducing a lineout to end the inning. It was the sixth career outing for Butera, who came into the game with a 4.50 ERA. More >

Video: BOS@KC: Butera gets Bradley Jr. to line out to second

UP NEXT
Right-hander Jakob Junis (5-10, 5.13 ERA) takes the mound for the finale of a three-game set with the Red Sox at 1:15 p.m. CT on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium. Righty Rick Porcello (10-3, 3.57 ERA) will pitch for Boston. Junis gave up a career-high nine runs in a loss to the Indians on Monday, his seventh straight defeat which is one shy of the club record.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Brad Keller