Final, Royals 4, Red Sox 2: The Sox go down 1-2-3 in the ninth and their seven-game win streak comes to an end.
Bottom of the eighth, Royals 4, Red Sox 2: The Sox had a true opportunity to threaten with the bases loaded and two outs. The Royals had given up on Bruce Chen (two hits in two-thirds of an inning) and brought right-hander Aaron Crow out of the bullpen.
But Jarrod Saltalamacchia couldn't capitalize. He mustered a tapper that didn't even reach the mound. It easily ended the inning, got the Royals out of hot water and kept the Red Sox in a late hole. The Sox are 0-3 this year when trailing after 3.
Top of the eighth, Royals 4, Red Sox 2: Clayton Mortensen came on for the first time since April 16, when he threw two scoreless innings in relief of Felix Doubront, and he was effective.
After gett Billy Butler to bounce out to third, he used his slider to strike out Eric Hosmer and his changeup to get Lorenzo Cain.
Ervin Santana is done after seven innings. He gave up just two runs on six hits and struck out seven with no walks. Bruce Chen will pick things up.
Too of the sixth, Royals 4, Red Sox 2: With his pitch count up to 96, his innings up to six, and Clayton Mortensen warming up in the Red Sox bullpen, it looks like Ryan Dempster's day is likely done.
His issued a pair of one-out walks to Cain and Moustakas that turned out to be harmless one his struck out Jeff Francoeur (for the third time today) and got Salvador Perez to fly out to center.
Bottom of the fifth, Royals 4, Red Sox 2: Santana's retired 11 straight Sox with three of his four strikeouts over that stretch.
Will Middlebrooks is the hitter in the bottom half of the Sox's lineup with a hit. Everyone from Napoli down is a combined 0 for 8.
Top of the fourth, Royals 4, Royals 2: From the back-to-back singles to start it off to two scorching RBI doubles, there wasn't much pretty about that three-run inning for Dempster.
He toed a tricky line, getting into trouble then seeming as if he might be able to work his way out of it.
Not with Lorenzo Cain continuing to rake. Cain ripped a line drive into the left-field corner for an RBI double that tied the game at 2 and added to his gluttonous numbers so far this series. He's 5 for 6 with three doubles, a homer, two RBIs and a stolen base.
Dempster struck out the next two batters he faced, but then with two on, he gave up a double to Salvador Perez.
For Sox starters, a three-run inning had been unheard of all year. No starter had even had a three-run outing before today.
Bottom of the third, Red Sox 2, Royals 1: For the first time today, the Sox go down in order.
Ervin Santana got Mike Napoli swinging at a fastball up and in.
Santana had to scrap through his last start against the Blue Jays in order for Kansas City to pull out a 3-2 win, according to the Kansas City Star:
While Santana wasn’t nearly as dominant as he was last Monday during the home opener, he consistently wriggled out of trouble, finishing with a no decision after he allowed two runs — one earned — in eight innings.
Santana, who scattered seven hits and three walks, recorded four strikeouts (all on sliders) including one against slugger J.P. Arencibia with two runners on to end the eighth inning in a 2-2 game.
“He was very stingy in terms of giving up runs and made big pitches when he needed to, especially in the eighth when he needed to get Arencibia,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Top of the third, Red Sox 2, Royals 1: The loud, long first-inning homer that Ryan Dempster gave up to Alcides Escobar is turning out to be just a blip. He's buzzed through two 1-2-3 innings.
After walking Alex Gordon with one out, he faced Esobar again and used his splitter to get a ground ball that started a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
He's thrown 46 pitches (29 strikes) through three innings.
Bottom of the second, Red Sox 2, Royals 1: Jacoby Ellsbury extended his hit streak to 10-games with his single to left. He's now hitting .310 over that stretch (13-42) with 10 runs scored, a double, two triples and three stolen bases.
Top of the second, Red Sox 2, Royals 1: Ryan Dempster keeps the Ks coming. He got Jeff Francoeur reaching for a slider and Salvado Perez chasing for a split to give him three for the game.
Bottom of the first, Red Sox 2, Royals 1: The Sox responded quickly stringing together quality at-bats to turn three singles into two runs.
Daniel Nava and Dustin Pedroia both came up with one-out singles. David Ortiz followed up with a liner to right-center that scored Nava. Mike Napoli then drove in Dustin Pedroia with a ground ball to second.
After going 2 for 4 with an RBI yesterday, Ortiz put together a solid at-bat to get the Sox on the board, working the count full, fouling off an Ervin Santana fastball down to then get a slider away that he roped to the outfield to cap the seven-pitch at-bat.
Top of the first, Royals 1, Red Sox 0: Alcides Escobar took the first pitch he saw from Ryan Dempster and drilled it over the Monster to put the Royals up early.
Dempster fed Escobar an 89 mile-per-hour fastball over the middle of the plate and he devoured it.
Escobar is now 5 for 13 on this road trip after going through an 0-for-15 slump.
Pregame: For as well as Ryan Dempster has pitched this season, his first win has been strangely elusive. Dempster’s 0-1 with a 2.65 ERA, and overall, the Sox are 1-2 in his starts this year.
“Wins are great,” he said after start last week against the Rays, when he left after seven innings with a 2-1 lead before Andrew Bailey let it slip away in the ninth. “I’d love to win as many games as I possibly can, but I've always said if I start 34 games in a season and we go 34-0 in my starts and I don't win one of those games, I'm totally, completely happy with that. I mean that. Any time I can start a ball game and we win that ball game that's all that matters.”
His 25 strikeouts have him at fifth in the American League. In each of his first three starts, he’s struck out at least seven. He’s second in the majors with 13.24 strikeouts per nine innings. But he’s also thrown 295 pitches over 17 innings.
“I like the one-pitch outs,” Dempster said “Those are a lot nicer than the strikeouts.”
To a pitcher who threw at least 200 innings from 2008 to 2011, efficiency matters. Starts like the one he had against the Rays, when he went deep into the game and left with the lead, are the ideal.
“I take a lot of in being able to go out there and throw innings, throw quality innings,” Dempster said. “I was able to not waste as many pitches [against the Rays] and able to get myself deeper in the ball game. Hopefully that's something I can continue to do.”
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