The Red Sox had their lowest run total in more than a week against Ian Kennedy, leaving Steven Wright the hard luck loser in the first half of their day - night doubleheader against the Royals.
That the game was even this close with the Sox scoring only two is, frankly, a positive the way it started. Steven Wright looked a mess in the first, struggling to keep his knuckleball down, or in the strike zone at all for that matter. The Royals took advantage of his inconsistency, striking for two on an Eric Hosmer homer to get on the board in what has typically been the Red Sox' territory.
But we've seen this from Steven Wright before. One tough inning in the first, and then smooth sailing. And not willing to let this game fall apart the way his last start did, Wright fought back in a big way. The next time the Royals would both get a baserunner and keep it would be the sixth. It would come in the worst way, and be awfully bad timing, but we'll get to that later.
First, the Red Sox had to get back into things, and that...that wasn't terribly easy. Ian Kennedy has been rolling in 2016, and as mentioned before, the Sox seem to have cooled some. They managed just one baserunner through the first three innings, with Kennedy striking out the side in order come the third.
Finally, though, in the fourth, the Sox seemed ready to take control. Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, and David Ortiz each shot hits through the infield to start the frame, with Pedroia scoring, and Bogaerts just 90 feet away with zero outs. But in the end, the ability to score the baserunner with a situational out would be the difference in this game. Travis Shaw got ahead 3-0 behind Ortiz, then went down on three straight strikes. Rutledge suffered the same fate, and Jackie Bradley Jr. could only hit a weak ground ball to second base, leaving Xander stranded.
Still, in the fifth, Chris Young quickly knotted the game at 2-2 with--rarity of rarities--a homer off a right-handed pitcher, taking Kennedy deep to center. The Sox could well have had the lead, too, with Xander Bogaerts hitting a ground ball to the left side with Pedroia on second and two down. But Alcides Escobar made a diving stop, and threw from his knees to get Bogaerts as he made the frustrating mistake of diving into first base, quite possibly costing the Red Sox an out, and perhaps even a run.
That brings us to the sixth, and Kansas City's next baserunner. Jarrod Dyson would be the man to change the game, hitting a line drive into the right field corner, and racing all the way to third as it bounced away from Mookie Betts. Just as with the Red Sox in the fourth, the Royals needed only a productive out. Wright got at least the one pop-up from Escobar, but couldn't keep Lorenzo Cain from lofting a fly ball to left to do what Boston could not and bring the run home.
The Sox would have a chance against Kelvin Herrera, as Xander Bogaerts and David Ortiz hit back-to-back singles with one out. But the hero at the plate turned into the hero in the field as Dyson gunned down Bogaerts trying to go first-to-third with an excellent throw that just beat Xander to the bag. The only bright spot left to the Red Sox was a base hit from Jackie Bradley Jr. in the ninth to keep the streak alive before Hanley Ramirez came up a little short on a long fly ball to dead center, ending the game rather than changing it.
There are silver linings here: Steven Wright's complete game keeps Boston's bullpen fresh for game two, and Steven Wright has reasserted himself after his first bad outing of the year. But you can only sugarcoat a series loss so much.