KANSAS CITY -- Royals catcher Salvador Perez hit his first career grand slam in the eighth inning and Kelvin Herrera recorded his 17th save as the Royals came back to beat the Red Sox, 6-4, on Wednesday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.With the win, the Royals won their fourth straight series
KANSAS CITY -- Royals catcher Salvador Perez hit his first career grand slam in the eighth inning and Kelvin Herrera recorded his 17th save as the Royals came back to beat the Red Sox, 6-4, on Wednesday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.
With the win, the Royals won their fourth straight series and have won eight of their last 10 games. After the Yankees beat the Angels, 8-4, Wednesday night, Boston slipped to second place, a half-game back of the Yanks in the American League East.
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With the bases loaded and nobody out, Perez sent a towering fly ball 412 feet, as projected by Statcast™, which landed over the Royals' bullpen in left field to clear the bases and give the Royals their first lead since the fourth inning. The home run was Perez's 15th of the season and came on a 3-2 pitch from Red Sox left-hander Robby Scott.
"The couple pitches before that one he kept throwing in the corner," said Perez, who fouled off three pitches in the at-bat. "When they made some pitches I had to hit it."
Scott and right-hander Matt Barnes walked three straight batters to start the inning before Perez's home run. The bullpen meltdown came in relief of starter Thomas Pomeranz, who pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs and striking out five. The Red Sox had been 29-0 this season when leading after seven innings.
"It's certainly not a trend," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "That isn't something we have dealt with very often, if at all. Particularly three consecutive walks to load the bases. That's not who this pitching staff has shown to be. On a day when you've got just a little bit of a two-run breather, it ends up looming large."
After Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy gave up four runs -- two unearned -- in 4 2/3 innings, Mike Minor and Joakim Soria, who got the win, pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings to set up Herrera for the save.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Back-to-back blasts: After being no-hit through three innings, Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi and shortstop Xander Bogaerts hit back-to-back home runs to tie the game at 2. It was the fourth time this season Boston has hit back-to-back home runs. Benintendi's shot came on a 1-2 fastball and traveled a projected 454 feet, according to Statcast™, into the waterfall in right-center. Bogaerts followed with his fifth home run of the year, which sailed a projected 404 feet, according to Statcast™, to left-center.
• Benintendi showing surprising pop
Royals manager Ned Yost said Kennedy normally pitches effectively up in the strike zone, but didn't elevate either pitch enough.
"I'm just trying to hit it hard," said Benintendi. "I know he likes to elevate his fastball, so I was trying to look up in the zone and was fortunate enough to get that one."
Setting up the slam: The Royals nearly came back in the seventh, loading the bases with two outs in the inning. Though Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly induced a lineout from Royals left fielder Whit Merrifield to prevent the Royals from scoring, the inning's length positioned the Royals with the heart of their order due up in the eighth.
"I was thinking about [having never hit a grand slam] two pitches before. Seriously, I swear to God. It's unbelievable. I don't know where it's coming from in my mind." -- Perez
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
This was just the second time the Red Sox have lost this season in a game they hit two or more home runs. They are 13-2 on those occasions, and the only other defeat was against the Cubs on April 29.
Red Sox: Following a day off on Thursday, the Red Sox open a homestand against the Angels on Friday night at Fenway Park. David Ortiz's Number 34 will be retired to the facade in right field prior to the game. Struggling right-hander Rick Porcello (3-9, 5.05 ERA) makes the start for Boston. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.
Royals: Following an off-day on Thursday, right-hander Jake Junis (2-1, 5.56 ERA) heads to the mound in the series opener against Toronto on Friday at 7:15 p.m. CT. In his last outing, a loss to the Angels, Junis allowed five runs on eight hits, including two home runs, over 5 1/3 innings.
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Wilson Alexander is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City who covered the Royals on Wednesday.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.