Kansas City Royals slip again in miserable Sox series


The Kansas City Royals were hoping to feast on the bottom-of-the-barrel Boston Red Sox in a four game series at Kauffman Stadium. Instead, the Bosox closed out a series victory Sunday with an 8-4 drubbing of the Royals.

Jason Vargas (11-9, 3.41) struck out eight through 5.1 innings and was mostly in control, except for two terrible frames that were his undoing.

Vargas and the Royals took a 4-0 lead into the third inning courtesy of a 3-run home run by Eric Hosmer and a run-scoring ground out by Jarrod Dyson off Joe Kelly (4-4, 4.28). That lead was looking like a mountain for the Red Sox to overcome, given that Vargas got the first seven Boston batters in a row, four of them on strike outs.

With one out in the third, however, David Ross walked, followed by a strike out by Jackie Bradly Jr., the second strike out of the inning. Vargas gave up a single to Mookie Betts and three-run shot to Xander Bogaerts as Boston closed the lead to 4-3.

In that one swing, seemingly, the Royals just simply shut down and let Boston take control of the game and a pennant race they aren’t even involved in.

From Dyson’s one-out RBI single in the second until Lorenzo Cain‘s one out single in the eighth, the Royals managed only three walks.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox took control. Down 4-3 through five, Betts led off the sixth with a single, followed by another single from Bogaerts. After David Ortiz flew out, moving runners up a base, Aaron Crow replaced Vargas and loaded the bases by walking Yoenis Cespedes. Down 3-1 in the count to Allen Craig, Crow managed to come back and strike him out for the second out of the inning.

That’s when Daniel Nava turned on an inside pitch from Crow and deposited in the right field bullpen for a grand slam.

The Red Sox would tack on another run in the eighth for an 8-4 lead. The Royals loaded the bases in the ninth with two out, yet Ned Yost left his power bats (Billy Butler, Carlos Peguero, Josh Willingham and Raul Ibanez) on the bench, opting instead to go righty-righty with Cain (he of 16 career home runs in five years) facing Edward Mujica. Mujica threw a heavy dose of sliders away and punched out Cain, with the bat resting on his shoulders, as the Royals slipped to a game and a half behind the Detroit Tigers.

NOTABLES: Four of Raul Ibanez’ five home runs this year are off right-handed pitchers. For his career, 242 of his 305 career home runs are off right-handed pitchers. Billy Butler sat on the bench…again. Eric Hosmer’s home run was his…eighth…of…the…year. The Royals now hold a one game lead over the Seattle Mariners for the second Wild Card spot. They are 1.5 games back of the Oakland Athletics for the first Wild Card spot, and trail the Tigers by that same margin.

NEXT: Three game series hosting the Chicago White Sox. John Danks (9-11, 5.05) squares off against James Shields (14-7, 3.13) in the opener Monday at 7:10 p.m. at the K.