By Jeffrey Flanagan and Ian Browne
MLB.com |@FlannyMLB |
KANSAS CITY -- Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts each homered, and left-hander David Price threw 7 1/3 strong innings as the Red Sox salvaged a split in the day-night doubleheader with the Royals, winning, 5-2, in the night game Wednesday. The Royals won the day game, 3-2.
Bradley also extended his hitting streak to 24 games with the home run.
"I felt like that's the best I've commanded all my pitches from the beginning until I was taken out," said Price. "That's definitely a step in the right direction."
Right-hander Edinson Volquez went six innings for the Royals, giving up seven hits and four runs. He trailed, 2-1, with two outs in the sixth before Christian Vazquez hit a two-run single to center field to give the Red Sox a 4-1 lead.
"With that offense over there," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Volquez, "I thought he did a good job of keeping them from bunching hits together. [He] gave up two home runs, but they got tack-on runs in the sixth."
Volquez said of the two-run single by Vazquez, "It was a fastball that got back over the plate. He did a good job. Tonight didn't go the way I wanted to, but we did get two of three from those guys. That's good."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Homer binge continues for Boston: Bradley's homer in the first made it 19 straight games at least one Red Sox player has gone deep, tying a franchise record set by the 1996 team. Boston has hit 35 homers during the run, five more than the '96 club hit during that stretch.
"We've been on a good run. Our guys are in a pretty good place, they're getting into good counts, they're driving the baseball," said Boston manager John Farrell. "Our offense is a strong one. Shut down here for a game or two, but good to see us get back on the board tonight."
Perez goes yard: Royals catcher Salvador Perez brought the Royals within 2-1 in the fourth when he hit the first pitch he saw from Price into the left-field seats. Perez now has two career homers off Price in 12 at-bats.
Vazquez delivers: With first base open and two outs in the sixth, the Royals opted for an intentional walk of the red-hot Bradley. It was a logical move by Yost, but it didn't work. Vazquez came through with a two-run single up the middle to increase Boston's lead to 4-1. Vazquez's two RBIs on that one swing equaled his season total entering the at-bat.
"Man, it was special for him to come through and put some extra runs on the board and increase the lead," said Bradley. "It's exactly what we were wanting. After that, David kind of did what he had to do and tried to shut the door."
First big league hit: Utility man Whit Merrifield, called up between games of the doubleheader, made his Major League debut and also got his first big league hit. After flying out in his first at-bat in the third, Merrifield singled sharply to left in the fifth inning after Paulo Orlando had walked. Right-hander Alec Mills also made his Major League debut on the mound in the eighth inning. He went two-thirds of an inning and gave up one earned run. Merrifield and Bradley were college teammates at South Carolina.
"I'm very happy for him," Bradley said. "When he got his first hit, I was clapping for him from the outfield and trying to do it as subtle as possible. I know his parents were in town and I'm glad they were here as well." More >
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Bradley's streak is the longest by any Red Sox player since David Ortiz hit in 27 straight from July 2, 2012-May 7, 2013.
In the fourth, Josh Rutledge was initially ruled out on an attempted steal of second base. The call was overturned after Farrell challenged, and the replay official definitively determined that Rutledge's foot touched the base before he was tagged.
Farrell again challenged in the eighth when Vazquez tried to beat out a roller to third. This time, the call was upheld.
WHAT'S NEXT Red Sox: Following a day off on Thursday, the Red Sox will host manager Terry Francona and the Cleveland Indians for a three-game series. Right-hander Clay Buchholz will start for Boston. Corey Kluber goes for the Indians. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.
Royals: After an off-day Thursday, the Royals embark on a three-game trip to Chicago to play the White Sox for the first time this season. Right-hander Dillon Gee (0-1, 3.12 ERA) starts for the Royals.