Early outburst powers Red Sox past Royals
KANSAS CITY -- Rookie left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez bounced back from a horrific start against Toronto and gave up just one run over 6 1/3 innings to lead Boston to a 7-3 win over the Royals on Friday night at sold-out (38,190) Kauffman Stadium.
Rodriguez gave up nine earned runs in his last start, but he had little trouble with the Royals, whose four-game winning streak ended. Rodriguez gave up six hits, walked one and struck out five.
"Yeah, a bounce-back start for him, no doubt," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "Three quality pitches tonight for strikes, but most importantly, his fastball location was outstanding for the time he was on the mound. We put up the five runs, and he pitches as if it's a nothing-nothing game."
Mookie Betts had four hits for Boston, Blake Swihart had two hits and two RBIs and Hanley Ramirez belted his 14th homer.
Right-hander Yohan Pino got an emergency start for the Royals, filling in for the injured Yordano Ventura. Pino struggled, giving up 11 hits and six runs over 5 1/3 innings. He didn't strike out a batter.
Royals manager Ned Yost would not commit to Pino making another start.
"We'll wait to make that decision," Yost said.
As for Pino's outing, Yost said, "He had a rough second inning, but he did a good job to get us through five. … He settled down after that second inning and allowed us to get through the game with just [Brandon] Finnegan and [Luke Hochevar]. We didn't have to use our big guys."
Eric Hosmer cracked his eighth homer for the Royals.
"I thought I put a good swing on that one," Hosmer said. "It felt good."
As for the loss, Hosmer said, "That's a good team over there that has just been skidding. You know sooner or later they're going to snap out of it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Red-hot second for Sox: After Pino threw a scoreless first, the Red Sox lit him up with three singles, two doubles and five runs in the second inning. The Sox made it once through the order before Pino finally got David Ortiz to ground out to first .
"We were able to bunch some things together and move through with a big night offensively," Farrell said, agreeing his team now looks like he expected it to look in Spring Training. "A deep lineup that's got the ability to put up good at-bats all the way through."
Two-out rally: The Royals didn't do much against Rodriguez until the bottom of the fifth. With two out, Omar Infante smacked a double into left-center field and continued his hot hitting. He entered the game with eight hits in his previous 15 at-bats. Alcides Escobar then reached out and poked a double down the right-field line, and the Royals trailed 6-1.
"It's hard when you face a guy for the first time," Hosmer said. "You have video, but you do have to kind of feel your way through it the first time through the order. But we couldn't do much after that."
Swihart heats up: Entering the game on an 0-for-6 streak at the plate, Swihart shook off the ice on his bat and burned two balls in his first two at-bats, including a decisive two-run double in the second inning that upped the Red Sox's lead to four runs. He later singled hard into right field in the fourth inning before he was caught stealing at second base, a call upheld after Boston challenged it.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW(S)
In the first inning, Betts was called out after Infante fielded his hopper at the edge of the infield and threw to first for a call Betts noticeably disliked. The Red Sox challenged and won, ruling Betts safe at first with an infield single after two minutes and 56 seconds.
The Red Sox challenged again in the fourth inning after Swihart was called out at second base while attempting to steal. The call was confirmed after the replay official definitively determined the runner lost contact with the base while the tag -- from Escobar -- was still applied. The review took four minutes, 37 seconds and left Boston without any more challenges.
Red Sox: Right-hander Rick Porcello (4-7, 5.29 ERA) looks to redeem himself in the second game of the series after losing his fifth straight on Monday. He is 8-5 with a 4.30 ERA in 19 career games against Kansas City and 6-3 as a visitor to Kauffman Stadium.
Royals: Right-hander Edinson Volquez (6-4, 3.10 ERA) takes the hill for the Royals. Volquez gave up two runs over five innings in an 8-5 win over the Brewers on Monday in Milwaukee. He has a 2.08 ERA in two career starts against Boston.
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