BOSTON -- The Red Sox, led by the torrid Dustin Pedroia, responded emphatically from a recent hitting funk and snapped a three-game losing streak with an impressive 8-3 victory over the Royals on Saturday night at Fenway Park.
Pedroia went 4-for-5 and is 8-for-9 in the first two games of this homestand. When he grounded into a 4-6-3 double play in his final at-bat, Pedroia's streak of hits in 11 straight at-bats came to an end, putting him just one shy of tying a Major League record.
"That's probably one of the coolest things you're going to experience," Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts said. "Obviously, such a great teammate as he is and a great player also, it was awesome to see him go through that."
He had reached base in 12 straight plate appearances. It was also Pedroia's third straight home game with four hits, making him the first Red Sox player since 1913 to accomplish that feat.
"Hotter than a firecracker, for sure," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Pedroia. "What's amazing to me is that he keeps his bat in the zone for so long, he can handle so many pitches."
David Price rode his team's outburst with his fourth win in his last four starts. The lefty limited the Royals to five hits and two runs over six innings, walking two and striking out seven.
Making Boston's hitting outburst all the more impressive is that it came against a starting pitcher (Danny Duffy) and a team that had been red-hot of late. Bogaerts contributed two hits, including a homer. Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez smashed back-to-back home runs in the fifth.
Duffy (five innings, nine hits, seven earned runs) had won his last five starts and last 10 decisions before losing for the first time since June 6. Two homers by Salvador Perez highlighted the night for Kansas City.
With the win, the Red Sox remained a game behind the Blue Jays in the American League East and hold a three-game cushion in the Wild Card standings. The Royals stayed three games behind the Orioles for the second Wild Card spot.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Laser show: Pedroia's impressive display started in the final game of the road trip on Thursday at Tropicana Field, when he had a hit in each of his final three at-bats. During the streak, he has raised his average from .306 to .320. Since moving to the leadoff spot on Aug. 10, Pedroia is hitting .458 (33-for-72).
"We're trying to win games," Pedroia said. "It's late in the year, and we're a game out of first place. I don't really have time to sit back and pat myself on the back for anything. We're trying to win as a team." More >
Salvy bombs: Perez jumped on a Price cutter in the second inning and sliced a liner over the wall in left for his 18th homer. Statcast™ estimated the exit velocity was 107.4 mph. Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar followed with doubles, and that tied the score, 2-2. The Royals fell behind in the bottom of the second and never got close again. Perez then belted his 19th homer to center field in the ninth. It was Perez's second multihomer game of his career -- he had his other two-homer game Aug. 28, 2013, at Minnesota.
"We jumped right back and scored two in the second inning," Yost said. "But [Price] did a good job. He had a good changeup. Spotted his fastball, good cutter. Mixed in a few curveballs."
Bogaerts getting hot again: Lost amid the heroics by Pedroia is an impressive resurgence by Bogaerts, who had been slumping mightily in recent weeks. Bogaerts has started this homestand in strong fashion with five hits over the last two games.
"You know, we started to see signs of it on the road trip," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "Even down in Tampa, he started to get some contact the other way, we put a hit-and-run on a couple of times just to try to keep him on the ball a little bit more. The swing in the first inning, that's about as easy and smooth a swing as Xander is going to take. The power speaks for itself."
Tough start for Duffy: Duffy had thrown seven straight quality starts and had won 10 straight decisions before getting roughed up by the Red Sox. In his last 11 starts, he had posted a 2.14 ERA. The seven runs he allowed were the most since Aug. 16, 2011, when he gave up eight runs to the Yankees.
"I don't ever expect to go out there and really have it handed to me like I did tonight," Duffy said. "I expect to keep my team in the game every time I go out.
"I didn't make pitches when I needed to. They were selling out on everything, and I just didn't keep the ball down. I expect better than that. I expect better than that every time out." More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Betts joined Fred Lynn (1975), Johnny Pesky ('42) and Ted Williams ('39-41) as the only players in Red Sox history to score 100 runs in a season before turning 24.
Saturday was David Ortiz's 1,000th career game at Fenway Park and the 2,000th in his career as a designated hitter.
In the top of the eighth inning with one out and Clay Buchholz pitching, Billy Burns hit a routine grounder to Pedroia. The second baseman made a quick grab, spun and threw a slightly off-balance ball to Ramirez, who made the catch and fell off the bag. Initially ruled an infield single, the Red Sox challenged. After a one-minute, five-second official chief review, the call was overturned to out at first.
WHAT'S NEXT Royals: Right-hander Yordano Ventura takes the mound for the Royals in the series finale on Sunday at 7:08 p.m. CT. Ventura, making his 26th start, earned his third straight win Tuesday by throwing six scoreless innings in a 1-0 win over the Marlins.
Red Sox: Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez pitches for the first time since Aug. 16, when he exited after four no-hit innings at Baltimore due to left hamstring tightness. Rodriguez has been strong since his return from Triple-A Pawtucket, notching a 2.52 ERA over seven starts.