Ervin Santana Settles Down as Royals Take First Game of Double Header in Boston
After two innings, Ervin Santana had thrown 48 pitches and it looked like a great idea to have brought up a long relief option in Will Smith in the first of two Sunday games.
But Santana cruised after, throwing 32 pitches total in the third, fourth and fifth innings, then worked around a David Ortiz double to get through the sixth having thrown 96 pitches. He gave up two runs in the first inning after a series of singles, but held the Boston Red Sox scoreless after, leaving the game in the hands of the bullpen after seven solid innings.
The Royals gained the lead in the fourth when Billy Butler led off with a hard, loud single off the Green Monster. Eric Hosmer sent a soft liner to left for a hit and Lorenzo Cain doubled into the left field corner to bring Butler around. After strikeouts by Mike Moustakas and Jeff Francoeur, Salvador Perez singled to left to score two and give the Royals a 4-2 lead.
From there, it was up to the bullpen. Bruce Chen came in for the eighth and got Jacoby Ellsbury to ground out. Saturday’s hero, Daniel Nava, singled to left before Dustin Pedroia flew out to left-center. Chen got David Ortiz to a 1-2 count on two ugly swings, but he lined a shot up the middle through a shift. Aaron Crow relieved Chen and walked Mike Napoli on four pitches. After starting 2-0 on Jarod Saltalamacchia with the bases loaded, there wasn’t much room for error. Saltalamacchia chased the next pitch and sent a soft tapper back to Crow, who threw to first and retired the side.
Greg Holland came in to shut the door and he’s starting to shake off whatever issues he was having earlier this month. Holland started 2-0 on Will Middlebrooks, then powered three fastballs past him. He struck out Stephen Drew on three pitches, then got Johnny Gomes to fly out to Lorenzo Cain to end the game.
The Royals got a little of everything to win this game – some hits with runners on to get runs in, an Alcides Escobar homer, solid starting pitching, and some good defensive plays. Everyone reached base other than Chris Getz, but he contributed a nice diving stop in the first to retire Napoli. And all of the relievers could still be available in the second game tonight with an off day on Monday.