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Hammel keeps Royals within striking distance

Righty logs 7 strong innings after laboring early vs. Sox
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

BOSTON -- Right-hander Jason Hammel figured all he had to do was keep the Royals close. After all, even as they trailed by two runs after five innings, they came into the game with an American League-leading 30 comeback victories this season.

No. 31 came soon after Hammel shut down the Red Sox in the sixth and seventh innings. A four-run eighth gave the Royals the lead and a 5-3 win, pulling them within two games of the first-place Indians in the AL Central race.

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BOSTON -- Right-hander Jason Hammel figured all he had to do was keep the Royals close. After all, even as they trailed by two runs after five innings, they came into the game with an American League-leading 30 comeback victories this season.

No. 31 came soon after Hammel shut down the Red Sox in the sixth and seventh innings. A four-run eighth gave the Royals the lead and a 5-3 win, pulling them within two games of the first-place Indians in the AL Central race.

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Hammel gave up four singles and two runs in the second, but he allowed only one run after that point. He walked none through seven innings and struck out six.

"Overall, I had good command the whole game," Hammel said. "The second inning was kind of the snafu. Just trying to keep us in there and let the boys get some runs on the board. And they did."

Hammel's seven-inning outing was his longest since June 19 and the team's longest outing since July 15, when Danny Duffy went 8 1/3 in a 1-0 loss to the Rangers.

"We need to do that a lot more," Hammel said of going deep into the game. "That's our job. It shouldn't be go five innings and then four by the relievers. We're going to need those relievers later."

Hammel and the rest of the team also was bolstered by the pregame news: That the Royals had acquired outfielder Melky Cabrera from the White Sox.

The Royals, Hammel said, have come a long way since their 10-20 start.

"It's obvious we're not a team that quits," Hammel said. "The way we started this season, nothing to write home about. But it's a long season and we believe in the process. It's a very good group of guys. The vibe is good.

"[The trade] shows commitment. We fought back into this. Obviously, it could have been ugly."

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

Kansas City Royals, Jason Hammel