Wright settles in to help out Boston's bullpen

Right-hander goes 8 solid innings in opener of day-night twin bill

Wright settles in to help out Boston's bullpen

KANSAS CITY -- If right-hander Steven Wright wasn't going to pitch the Red Sox to victory in Game 1 of Wednesday's day-night doubleheader, he did the next best thing by pitching his second complete game in his last three starts.

Wright again was the victim of a lack of run support in a 3-2 loss to the Royals. But he did his job by giving up five hits and three runs while walking one and striking out six.

And he gave the bullpen a chance to rest for Game 2.

"Yeah, that's every starting pitcher's goal, to go as deep into the game as I can," Wright said. "It's more crucial to do that today, knowing we had a doubleheader. I felt like I threw the ball well."

After serving up a two-run homer to Eric Hosmer in the first, Wright was largely untouchable for the rest of his performance, yielding just three hits and a run over his final seven innings.

Wright's 3-4 record is hardly indicative of the way he has pitched, but the 2.52 ERA paints the picture pretty well. The Red Sox have scored just 27 runs for Wright in his 53 2/3 innings this season.

Over the last four seasons, Wright has made 19 starts for Boston, allowing three earned runs or fewer in 17 of them.

"He was outstanding once again," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "He settles in after the first inning. Hosmer gets the knuckleball for the two-run dinger. He retired a number of guys consecutively. He's been very steady for us all year long, very good."

The one mishap Wright had this season was in his last start when he gave up seven hits and six runs to the Astros on a rainy night at Fenway. You may have heard that rain and knuckleballs mix something like oil and water.

"It was nice to not have the rain," Wright said. "It's a beautiful day today, so I was happy to get out there and throw to throw some strikes."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.