Entering Saturday’s game against the Royals, the Red Sox had only scored two runs over starter Rubby De La Rosa‘s last four starts, equaling out to an unsightly 0.73 run support average.
Boston was able to double that run total on Saturday night, and while two runs isn’t much, it was enough for De La Rosa, who spun seven brilliant innings of one-run, five-hit dominance en route to a 2-1 Red Sox victory.
Boston has now won two-straight series while also earning their first series victory against a team over .500 since the team took two out of three games from the Yankees on June 27-29. Boston’s last eight wins at home have all been decided by one run.
De La Rosa has now allowed three runs or less in five of his seven starts on the year while improving his ERA at home to 1.53 in four starts (4 earned runs/26 innings).
The game remained knotted at 1-1 until the sixth inning, when Mike Napoli took a 92 mph fastball from Royals starter Danny Duffy and deposited it over the Green Monster to give the Sox a one-run lead.
Shane Victorino, playing in his first game with Boston since May 23 after battling hamstring and back injuries for almost two months, was solid at the plate, going 1-for-3 while showing no limitations both in the field and on the basepaths.
With the win the Red Sox move to 45-52 on the year and have now won six of their last seven games.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
– Mike Napoli helped give the Sox the lead in the sixth inning, blasting a 3-1 offering from Duffy into left field for a solo home run. It was Napoli‘s first home run since June 28 against Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees, and his first at Fenway Park since going deep at home on June 18.
– Jackie Bradley Jr. impressed many in the press box prior to Friday’s game when he threw a ball from home plate into the first row of the center field bleachers, a distance of at least 410 feet. Bradley put his impressive arm on display again in the first inning Saturday. With Jarrod Dyson on first, Kansas City second baseman Omar Infante hit a fly ball out to center that Bradley easily collected for the out. However, Dyson was almost at second base by the time Bradley caught it, and was rather routinely thrown out at first on the throw from the Red Sox centerfielder.
It was Bradley’s 11th assist on the season, leading all MLB center fielders. It was also Bradley’s sixth double play on the year. No other outfielder in baseball entered today with more than three double plays credited to their name.
– De La Rosa continued his impressive stretch on the mound this season, holding the Royals to just one run over seven innings while striking out two batters. De La Rosa has been one of the best young hurlers in baseball this season, posting a 1.92 ERA over his last three starts. Entering Saturday’s game, De La Rosa was 11th in the AL in ERA (2.89) for pitchers with at least six starts this season while also tied for sixth in WHIP (1.04).
– Shane Victorino made his presence felt at the plate during his return to Boston, finishing the night 1-for-3 while playing a part in Boston’s first run of the game. In the bottom of the fourth, Victorino stepped to the plate and a hit a ground ball to shortstop that Alcides Escobar misplayed and skidded by him, allowing Napoli to score from second to put the Red Sox on the board.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
– Xander Bogaerts did little to build upon his impressive showing Friday night at the plate (1-for-3, 1 home run, 2 RBIs), finishing the night 0-for-3 while leaving four men on base in the process. Entering Saturday night, Bogerts ranked last amongst all MLB hitters with a .128 average (10-for-78) with RISP.
– He may have been the hero Friday night, but Jonny Gomes served as the scapegoat Saturday due to his performance out in the field. In the top of the fourth, Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas popped a fly ball into shallow left field under which Gomes and shortstop Brock Holt converged. There appeared to be a miscommunication between the players, as Gomes loudly called for it and lunged for it right next to Holt before the ball bounced off his glove and onto the field, allowing Moustakas to reach second. Gomes was given an error on the play.
Just one inning later, Gomes was at it again, as he apparently lost a fly ball off the bat of Omar Infante that fell no more than 10 feet in front of him, giving Infante an easy double.
While both of Gomes’ misplays were ugly, they were relatively harmless, as both occurred with two outs in the inning and both were followed up with a De La Rosa strikeout.