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Red Sox 8, Royals 4: Daniel Nava grand as Sox come back against Royals

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Daniel Nava and Xander Bogaerts accounted for four runs a piece as the Red Sox overcame an early deficit to earn a series win over the Royals.

Jamie Squire

The Red Sox fell behind early, but erased a 4-0 deficit with an eight-run attack highlighted by a three-run shot from Xander Bogaerts and a Daniel Nava grand slam.

While the Red Sox enjoyed some nice performances at the plate, you may have gathered that this was not exactly a banner night for Joe Kelly. That's entirely the fault of a train wreck second inning. After retiring the first three batters he faced on the night with ground balls, Kelly was quickly called back to the mound after a 10-pitch second from the Red Sox, and apparently left his best stuff in the dugout.

It's not hard to see why the Royals hit Kelly hard in the second. A hanging changeup to Alex Gordon resulted in a single. Salvador Perez got a very hard fastball, but one with only speed going for it, resulting in another line drive hit. The fastball that Eric Hosmer hit was just as straight, but it lacked even the gas and, up 2-0 in the count, Hosmer certainly did not miss his opportunity, clubbing a three-run homer over the wall in center field.

The next two batters would also reach base, making it five straight hits for the Royals and finally prompting a visit to the mound. Whatever was said in that meeting apparently stuck. Five pitches later--four of them off-speed--and Joe Kelly was out of the inning, allowing only the one additional run to score on a ground ball from Jarrod Dyson.

And from there, the first-inning Kelly was back. He would mix in a pair of walks to Eric Hosmer, perhaps pitching around the first baseman who had done so much damage in the second, but he was the only man Kelly allowed to reach base from that point. His six innings of work will look unimpressive at best taken as a whole, but were it not for that five at-bat implosion in the second, Kelly would honestly be looking at a fairly strong night.

Thankfully, that inning would not prove enough to top the Red Sox. Boston got right back in the game in the third inning. While Jason Vargas would strike out two of the first three batters he faced in the frame, David Ross drew a five-pitch walk, allowing the red-hot duo of Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts to come to the plate. Betts kept the inning alive with a flare to right, but it was Bogaerts who really cashed in on the opportunity, unloading on a low 0-1 changeup and taking it over the wall in left for a three-run shot, bringing the Red Sox within one.

Vargas would bounce back with a pair of 1-2-3 innings to get into the sixth, but there Betts and Bogaerts once again proved thorns in his side, leading off with a pair of solid singles into left to give the Red Sox an opportunity to pull ahead. David Ortiz could not get the job done, however, and after Yoenis Cespedes drew a walk, the Royals were able to come within an out of escaping the situation as reliever Aaron Crow struck out Allen Craig. Then he pumped a first-pitch fastball into Daniel Nava's wheelhouse, and saw his 4-3 lead become a 7-4 deficit on the first grand slam for Daniel Nava since the one he hit on the first major league pitch of his career.

So it was that Kelly would leave the game with a three-run lead, and see it turn to four runs on a Xander Bogaerts sacrifice fly before Tommy Layne took over in the seventh. Layne, Burke Badenhop, and Craig Breslow would get the ball to Edward Mujica for an entirely too tense ninth inning which saw the Royals load the bases with two outs before Mujica went to four straight sliders to retire Lorenzo Cain, finally ending the game and giving the Red Sox the series win.