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Red Sox 7, Royals 3: Eduardo Rodriguez rebounds

Mookie Betts picked up four hits Friday night as part of a seven-run Red Sox attack that gave more than enough support to a strong rebound start from Eduardo Rodriguez.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox didn't leave it in question for long whether they'd score against Yohan Pino. They wasted an infield single from Mookie Betts in the first when David Ortiz grounded into a double play. But the second saw very little waste indeed. A single from Xander Bogaerts and double from the returned Pablo Sandoval set up Mike Napoli, who singled up the middle to score both runs.

The attack didn't stop there. Alejandro De Aza walked behind Napoli, and Blake Swihart doubled to the base of the wall in right to score two more runs. The Sox would get the lineup back around to Mookie Betts, who produced his second of four hits on the day to bring home a fifth Boston run.

David Ortiz ended his second straight inning, leaving the Sox stuck at five not just for the second, but for the next couple innings as well. But Eduardo Rodriguez wasn't looking to give much back. While he did run into trouble in the bottom of the inning with a leadoff single and a hit batter, he got Salvador Perez to ground into a double play to complete his shutdown inning before striking out two in the third and another in the fourth to enter the fifth inning with his shutout intact.

In the top of the fifth, Hanley Ramirez would add to the Red Sox' lead by launching a solo shot to center field. But in the bottom half Eduardo Rodriguez met the only hurdle he couldn't completely clear on the night, surrendering a run on back-to-back doubles to Omar Infante and Alcides Escobar. He would face some more trouble after the Sox tacked on another run in the seventh, leaving with two on and one out, but Alexi Ogando dealt with the situation to keep his line looking like his first few starts rather than his last.

The bullpen couldn't quite live up to Rodriguez' tidy start, and given a certain game against the Blue Jays one week ago, when Eric Hosmer homered with two down in the eighth and the next two batters reached against Robbie Ross Jr., quite a bit of panic could be both expected and forgiven. But Ross escaped with the lead still at 7-2, and if the Royals picked up a third run on a pair of doubles against Steven Wright in the ninth, it didn't bring them any closer than four.

What is there really to say? Another well-played game by the Red Sox shockingly enough produces another win. There might just be some correlation there. Mookie Betts had four hits, Pablo Sandoval returned to action with his sixth straight multi-hit game, Eduardo Rodriguez was strong on the mound, and the Red Sox didn't give the game away in the field. A fan could even get used to this, if the Sox would let us.