The Red Sox played pretty well until the eighth inning Wednesday before the bullpen blew a 4-2 lead in spectacular fashion as the Sox lost to the Royals, 6-4, in Kansas City.
The first inning went by without incident, as did the top of the second. Eric Hosmer led off the top of the second with a hustle double, and when Salvador Perez followed up with a single it looked like things could get hairy; a double-play ball from Mike Moustakas later it was 1-0 Kansas City, but the threat was extinguished, and Cheslor Cuthbert would ground out to end the inning.
The Sox went in order in the third, and the Royals got another run when Pomeranz again gave up a leadoff double, this time to Alcides Escobar. A groundout and sac fly later and it was 2-0, but the Sox wouldn’t be denied in the top of the fourth.
Andrew Benintendi led off the top of the fourth, and did this:
Andrew Benintendi 454ft pic.twitter.com/68ELHgMJba— Boston Strong (@BostonStrong_34) June 21, 2017
At 454 feet, it was the longest homer of his career, and made it 2-1 Royals. He was followed by Xander Bogaerts, who did this:
Xander Bogaerts smacks a solo home run to left-center field to go back-to-back with Andrew Benintendi in the top of the 4th inning!!! #MLB pic.twitter.com/fVfjlEQnEj— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) June 21, 2017
That made it 2-2, and when Mitch Moreland walked it looked like the start of an even bigger inning, but the Sox went in order after that.
Pomeranz struck out Lorenzo Cain looking in the bottom of the fourth, then Bogaerts made a nice play going to his right out of the shift to get Hosmer at first. Pomeranz walked Perez, his first free pass of the day, but Moustakas flew out to center to end it, and in so doing got the respect of even the most critical of Sox fans.
Whether we cranky Red Sox fans wanna admit it or not... Drew Pomeranz is a pretty solid back end of the rotation pitcher.— Terry Cushman (@cushmanMLB) June 21, 2017
He is! Anyhow, Christian Vazquez started the fifth with a single to left to bring up Deven Marerro to sac bunt, at which point, comedy! Kennedy threw the ball approximately ten feet over Hosmer’s head at first, giving Marrero two bases, and there were two on, none out for Mookie Betts. Kennedy stayed away, away, away and ran the count full, at which point Mookie flew out to left field, scoring Vazquez when the throw home was cut off, and giving the Sox a 3-2 lead. Bennie hit a warning-track shot to center to advance Marrero with two outs, marking the end of Kennedy’s day — Bogaerts was intentionally walked so Moreland could face the lefty reliever Mike Minor. Who brought the weirdness.
Minor tried to pick off Bogaerts at first, but the throw hit 1B coach Ruben Amaro Jr., and Marrero came scurrying home to make it 4-2 Red Sox. Jerry Remy said he’d never seen it before, and neither have I. Anyhow, Moreland flew out to center to end the inning, but the lead was in hand.
The next six batters went in order while I picked up my kid at day care, bringing Pomeranz into magical sixth inning:
Drew Pomeranz has pitched at least six innings in five outings this season. All five have resulted in Red Sox wins. The magic number is 6.— Austin J. Eich (@Eich_AJ) June 21, 2017
Whit Merrifield single to open the frame, but Jorge Bonifacio popped out for the first out. Cain hit a double-play ball to Bogaerts, but Xander fumbled it and they only got the out at second. Hosmer struck out, giving Pomeranz his magical six.
In the top of the seventh, Vazquez struck out to open the frame off of Minor and Marrero followed suit, but Betts drilled a double down the left field line on a 3-2 count to keep the inning alive for Benintendi. He popped out to shortstop.
Pomeranz came out to start the seventh (!), and Salvador Perez started by singling to center. Moustakas struck out swinging on a full count, but Cuthbert singled to put two runners on and end Pomeranz’s day in favor of Joe Kelly. Alcides Escobar flied out on the first pitch and Ramon Torres walked to load the bases. Then, near-disaster: Merrifield hit a bullet to right... right to Mookie Betts, who made a leaping catch. Crisis averted.
The Sox went in order in the eighth and the maligned Matt Barnes came out to face KC’s two through four hitters. He walked Bonifacio to start, then walked Cain on four pitches, and the natives were understandably restless:
For the love of God John Farrell why do you continue to bring Matt Barnes in in high leverage situations!? HE. CANT. PITCH!— Ryan Salvaggio (@ryan_salvaggio) June 21, 2017
The #redsox might as well leave matt Barnes in Boston when they go on the road— BostonSportsMan (@DoyurjobSOXTB12) June 21, 2017
DFA BARNES FUCK HIM— Rafael Bittencourt (@BFRafaelB) June 21, 2017
It was up to Robby Scott to fix the mess. He did not. He walked Hosmer on four pitches, loading the bases with no one out. At one point, 11 straight balls were thrown. Not good! Perez then went to a full count and fouled off several pitches in a row.
Then Perez hit his first-ever grand slam:
SALVY F. PEREZ WITH HIS FIRST CAREER GRAND SLAM, PUTS THE #ROYALS UP 6-4!!!!! pic.twitter.com/yBPFWn4SsJ— Bobo (@bcoates74) June 21, 2017
It was bad, okay? It was bad. Scott gave up another hit before Heath Hembree came out and got Gordon to pop out for the first out of the inning. Then he got Escobar to hit into a double play to end it. WHY DIDN’T HEMBREE START THE DAMN INNING? That’ll be some serious #FireFarrell material, for sure.
Kelvin Herrera came on for the save and, determined to make it interesting, gave up a leadoff double to hitting machine Jackie Bradley Jr. Josh Rutledge grounded out, Vazquez struck out looking and pinch-hitter Hanley Ramriez flew out to center to end it. The Sox fall to 40-32 and, with an off-day tomorrow, will have a long time to deal with this one.