Red Sox

5 takeaways as Royals beat Red Sox, spoil Eric Hosmer’s return and debut

"We rely on the offense, and we’re not swinging the bat well."

Red Sox Royals
Boston Red Sox's Eric Hosmer watches from the dugout during the first inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

The Red Sox got some reinforcements on Thursday but fell apart late, dropping the first game of an important series against the Royals 7-3.

Here’s what happened.

The Big Picture

The Red Sox looked like they might be on track for an easy night in the top of the first. Jaylin Davis drew a leadoff walk, followed by a bloop double by Tommy Pham. Rafael Devers then singled down the line and scored both runners as the Red Sox took a 2-0 lead.

But the Royals answered immediately. M.J. Melendez hit a 424-foot leadoff homer to draw within one. Bobby Witt Jr. then singled, stole second, and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Vinnie Pasquantino.


The two teams battled through three scoreless innings before the Royals broke through again — Salvador Pérez singled home Nicky Lopez to give the Royals a 3-2 lead. Kevin Plawecki drove in Christian Arroyo to tie the score an inning later.

The bottom of the seventh, however, was a disaster for the Red Sox. Darwinzon Hernandez walked Lopez to lead off the frame, then gave up back-to-back singles to Melendez and Witt Jr. Pérez then ripped a liner down the line that caromed off the foul pole and was ruled a fair homer.

Alex Cora protested and was ejected, but the umpires stuck with their call, and the Royals finished off a 7-3 victory.

Star of the Game

Salvador Pérez Pérez started the game with a classy gesture, hugging Hosmer as he stepped to the plate in the top of the first and giving the crowd addition time to cheer.

Then he went 2-for-4 and drove in four runs — enough to beat the Red Sox on his own. He is the easy nod here.

What It Means

The Red Sox really could have used a win. After Chaim Bloom opted to go for it (kind of) at the deadline, the team took two out of three in Houston which could be an encouraging sign. A loss to the Royals to start a series in which the Red Sox are favored is much less so, especially since the Red Sox have largely taken care of business against bad non-AL East teams this year.


1. Hosmer got a nice ovation when he walked out onto the field in the first — both from Royals fans and Red Sox fans watching his debut — and he stopped to smile and tip his cap. The Royals drafted Hosmer in 2008, and he was an All-Star MVP and four-time Gold Glove winner in Kansas City.


Hosmer then just missed a homer with a 412-foot fly out to straightaway center, part of an 0-for-3 outing with one walk. The Red Sox still got two runs in the inning, but the Royals started the scoring with their first batter.

2. Matt Barnes was reinstated from the injured list, and he pitched a perfect sixth inning — drawing consecutive grounders and a fly out. One good outing isn’t a total game-changer, but the Red Sox could really use an additional arm in the bullpen.

3. How hard did Pérez hit his seventh-inning homer (that was almost a double and also nearly foul)? The line drive hit 110.4 mph, with just a 20-degree launch angle.

“The ball was in play,” Cora said. “For us, it was in play. It was probably a double, and they score two. It’s not a homer.”

4. Nick Pivetta pitched five innings and allowed seven hits and three runs, with a walk and five strikeouts.

“Salvador Pérez put a good swing on a good slider down and away to take the lead there [in the fifth inning],” Pivetta told reporters, referencing Pérez’s sharp RBI single. ” … But mostly I was happy with everything.”


Cora focused his attention on the hitting issues postgame.

“We have to be better offensively,” Cora said. “We rely on the offense, and we’re not swinging the bat well.”

5. Some 45 miles west, Michael Wacha — who has been out for a month with shoulder inflammation — made a very successful rehab start in Worcester. The right hander allowed no hits and just one walk, striking out eight of the 15 batters he faced in 4.2 innings.

After his outing, Wacha told reporters his shoulder felt great.

“I’m ready to be back there for sure,” Wacha said, per MassLive. “I was pretty pleased with how the ball was coming out and the command. Getting ahead of guys and if I didn’t get ahead of guys I was able to make a quality pitch to get back into the count.”

The Red Sox face the Royals again on Friday at 8:10 p.m.


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