“I was just looking for a heater away I could drive,” Gordon said. “With no one out, I was trying to pull the ball. I was trying to drive him in, but at the same time get the runner over from second, too.”
Added Royals manager Ned Yost, “We just kept grinding, just keep grinding the at-bats. It’s just kind of typical of our success. The big guys are getting on base, and [Alcides Escobar] and Gordon, who struggled so much at the beginning of the year, come up with huge hits.”
The Royals opened the eighth down, 3-1, but broke through for four runs against Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes, who has been shouldering more responsibility due to the absence of Joe Kelly (left hamstring strain). Though all the runs were charged to Barnes, Gordon’s triple came against lefty Robby Scott. Escobar tied it with a two-run single to right.
“They were able to bunch some base hits together, and as they start to get to the bottom of the order, where you see the lefties coming, Gordon at the plate, it’s kind of a big blow right there to spread it open further,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
The Red Sox tried to turn the tables on the Royals in the ninth, loading the bases with two out against closer Kelvin Herrera. But Mookie Betts hit a shallow flyout to center to end the game.
Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz turned in another strong game and left in position to get a win, giving up one run over 6 2/3 innings in a no-decision. With the loss, Boston remained a half-game behind the Yankees in the AL East.
“I felt pretty good out there. I felt like I had a pretty good mix of pitches. I was getting some early contact,” Pomeranz said. “The bullpen’s been so good all year. It’s just part of baseball. It happens sometimes.”
Royals starter Jason Hammel gave up two runs in the second and a solo shot to Red Sox prospect Rafael Devers in the fifth, but Hammel otherwise pitched well, giving up three runs over seven innings.
“Overall, I had good command the whole game,” Hammel said. “Just trying to keep us in there and let the boys get some runs on the board. It’s obvious we never quit.”
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Error opens floodgates: An error by shortstop Xander Bogaerts on a leadoff ground ball by Lorenzo Cain helped spur the Royals’ pivotal eighth inning. Eric Hosmer then stung a line drive off the right hand of Barnes and the Royals kept rolling from there.
“Well, it opens the door, and then all of a sudden there’s life,” Farrell said. “Instead of the potential of an out, nobody on, against a team that’s aggressive, they’re playing with a lot of momentum, that’s a crack, and then all of a sudden here’s a ball off the chest, and things are starting to build at that point. It changes the whole complexion of the inning to be honest with you.”
Fenway first for Devers: Devers displayed a nice opposite-field stroke that will serve him well at Fenway Park, hitting a liner that just cleared the Green Monster for his second home run in the fifth game of his career. Devers stopped at second, as the umpires didn’t see that the drive had cleared the Monster. After a crew-chief review, the call was overturned and Devers completed his first Fenway home-run trot. According to Statcast™, the shot by Devers traveled a projected 381 feet.
“It was really cool to be able to hit a home run here with all the Red Sox fans. It was an awesome experience,” Devers said.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
At 20 years and 279 days, Devers is the youngest player to homer at Fenway Park since Manny Machado on April 10, 2013, and the youngest Red Sox player at Fenway since Tony Conigliaro in 1965. Devers is the first Red Sox player to hit two homers in his first five Major League games since Will Middlebrooks in 2012.
2007 CHAMPS HONORED
Prior to the game, the Red Sox held a ceremony to honor the 10-year anniversary of the 2007 World Series championship team. Nineteen players from that squad took part in the festivities, including David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, Curt Schilling, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield and J.D. Drew. Lowell, the World Series MVP, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Varitek.
Royals: Left-hander Danny Duffy (7-6, 3.56 ERA) will take the mound as the Royals open a three-game series against the Orioles at Camden Yards on Monday at 6:05 p.m. CT. Duffy gave up one run over 6 1/3 innings in a 3-1 win over Detroit on Tuesday.
Red Sox: Right-hander Doug Fister (0-5, 7.46) makes his return to the rotation on Monday at 7:10 p.m. ET when the Red Sox face the AL Central-leading Indians in the opener of a three-game series at Fenway Park. Fister had been moved to the bullpen last week, but plans changed when David Price had to go on the disabled list with inflammation in his left elbow.
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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.