The Red Sox saw their winning streak come to an end after four games Saturday night, as Matt Barnes bookended his start with bad frames, and the Red Sox found themselves largely shut down by Yordano Ventura in a 6-2 loss.
It was another unimpressive performance from Matt Barnes, who has done his best in two starts to show the Red Sox why, even in the days of Justin Masterson getting consistent starts, they had not turned to him in the past. He started off his night by allowing a two-out rally to the Royals for two runs in the first, with Kendrys Morales planting a flat fastball off the wall in left for the decisive double. He ended it by allowing Morales to start the rally this time, drawing a walk with one out in the sixth, moving to second on a Mike Moustakas single, and then scoring when Salvador Perez found the bullpens for a three-run shot.
There's a lot of in-between there, you might notice. And yes, those four innings were scoreless, but they were also not exactly pretty. Even Matt Barnes' outs were loud, particularly in the last couple innings leading up to his implosion in the sixth. It will go in the books as a bad outing, with five earned runs in five innings of work. But it should probably also be noted as a night that could pretty easily have been that much worse.
Turns out, though, that the Royals wouldn't need much more than they got in the first inning anyways. The Red Sox would threaten in the first, and actually put the pressure on Ventura often enough early on with leadoff baserunners. But they struggled to get that final hit in the first few frames, and Ventura seemed only to be getting better, striking out the side in order in the fifth. The Sox did finally manage to convert a leadoff baserunner into a run in the sixth thanks to David Ortiz making it two hits to start the inning, moving Xander Bogaerts to third where he could score on a ground ball from Travis Shaw. But by then they seemed pretty hopelessly behind, and Mookie Betts' homer in the bottom of the seventh was only good to match the run Craig Breslow would allow in the top of the eighth.
The Sox did manage to make one last push in the ninth, as Kelvin Herrera struggled to close out what had seemed like a won game. He would hit Josh Rutledge with one out, and then just could not put the Red Sox away, with Pablo Sandoval drawing a two-out walk, Xander Bogaerts driving in a third run with a single, and David Ortiz reaching on another walk to put the winning run at the plate in the form of Travis Shaw. But this would not prove to be another one of Shaw's huge moments. While it's been feast after feast for Shaw of late, the first baseman completed his first 0-for in a week by popping up to end the game.