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Red Sox rout Royals for MLB-high 61st win

Bogaerts' bases-clearing double caps pivotal 4-run 5th
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- Major League Baseball's best offense was held in check the first two times around on Saturday. It was the third time around when the Red Sox finally broke through.

Three big rallies powered the Red Sox to a 15-4 victory over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium, giving them a 2-0 lead in the three-game series. Boston, with its MLB-best 61st win, maintained its two-game lead over the second-place Yankees in the American League East.

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KANSAS CITY -- Major League Baseball's best offense was held in check the first two times around on Saturday. It was the third time around when the Red Sox finally broke through.

Three big rallies powered the Red Sox to a 15-4 victory over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium, giving them a 2-0 lead in the three-game series. Boston, with its MLB-best 61st win, maintained its two-game lead over the second-place Yankees in the American League East.

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"It was a total team effort," said manager Alex Cora, whose club won its fifth in a row and second straight series on this 6-2 road trip. "I don't know, four hours and whatever. At the end of the day, we won. It's been a pretty good road trip. We've got a chance to make it great tomorrow."

Royals rookie starter Brad Keller was cruising with a 3-0 lead and yielded just four hits through four innings, but a third time through the Red Sox lineup turned the tide.

Video: BOS@KC: Red Sox score 7 runs in the 9th inning

With two out in the fifth, Mookie Betts, who had a four-hit game, singled and Andrew Benintendi drew a four-pitch walk before J.D. Martinez hit a run-scoring single. Mitch Moreland walked and Xander Bogaerts cleared the bases with a double over the head of center fielder Alcides Escobar to give Boston a 4-3 lead and knock Keller from the game.

"[Keller] was on ... it was a tough pitch, honestly," Bogaerts said. "Good thing I hit it hard, and it kind of ran away from Escobar. But [Keller] was throwing a pretty good game until that last inning."

Red Sox starter David Price couldn't capitalize on the lead, however, hitting three batters -- including Lucas Duda with the bases loaded -- to tie it in the bottom of the fifth. The lefty went 4 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and four earned runs with nine strikeouts.

"To give up that lead the way I gave it up today, not to be able to get through five innings, that's tough," Price said. "But my teammates really picked me up tonight, and that's huge."

Video: BOS@KC: Kelly exits game in 8th with apparent injury

While Price struggled, the Red Sox's bullpen thrived as five relievers combined for 4 1/3 no-hit innings. Joe Kelly recorded just two outs before being pulled after feeling light-headed. An update on his status was unavailable postgame.

Boston's offense got going again in the seventh, thanks again to the top of the order. Benintendi drew a leadoff walk before Martinez doubled, putting Benintendi in position to score the go-ahead run on Moreland's sacrifice fly. Bogaerts and Rafael Devers drew walks to load the bases for Christian Vazquez, who knocked them in with a single.

Video: BOS@KC: Benintendi belts his 14th HR of the season

Benintendi added another run in the eighth, launching a solo homer into the right-field bullpen off reliever Kevin McCarthy. According to Statcast™, the blast traveled a projected 382 feet, and left the bat at 102.6 mph. The Red Sox struck for seven runs in the ninth against reliever Brandon Maurer and catcher Drew Butera, who came on to pitch and record the final out.

VAZQUEZ HEADED TO DL
Red Sox catcher Vazquez fractured the pinkie finger on his throwing hand when stealing second in the seventh inning.

Video: BOS@KC: Vazquez fractures finger on stolen base

"He's going to go on the DL," Cora said. "He got some X-rays, but when we go to Boston [after the series in Kansas City], we'll do more testing and all that."

SOUND SMART
Price's three hit batsmen in the fifth inning ties for the most in Major League history. The most recent pitcher to do it was Cubs right-hander John Lackey on July 25, 2017, against the White Sox.

Video: BOS@KC: Duda ties the game on a bases-loaded HBP

Benintendi went 2-for-2 with four walks and a homer. The only other Red Sox outfielder to record a homer and four walks in a game is Ted Williams, who did it five times between 1939 and '54.

HE SAID IT
"It's something special. We have guys on this team having amazing seasons. Stuff that, once you retire, you can definitely look back and say, 'Man, you know what, I was a part of that team.'" -- Bogaerts, on the club's red-hot offense

UP NEXT
Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello (10-3, 3.57 ERA) will start the series finale against the Royals at 2:15 p.m. ET on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium. Porcello has allowed two earned runs or fewer in five of his past seven starts, including six innings of two-run ball in his previous outing against the Nationals on Monday. The Royals will counter with right-hander Jakob Junis (5-10, 5.13 ERA).

Jordan Wolf is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City.

Boston Red Sox, Xander Bogaerts, Mitch Moreland, David Price, Christian Vazquez