Not surprisingly, the 2019 Kansas City Royals had several losing streaks. It took some home runs and good pitching to end one at Fenway Park.
Losing 100 games requires several losing streaks–a team can’t lose that many times without suffering frequent strings of consecutive losses. Such was the case for the KC Royals in 2019.
The Royals, losers of 103 games after dropping 104 in 2018, lost two and three straight games several times; they lost four games in a row four times, and five, six, seven and 10 consecutive games one time apiece. The 10 game skid came early in the season; the seven-game streak–the second longest of the campaign–started in Kansas City on July 29th and ended in Boston on August 6th. The Royals lost three games to Toronto, three to Minnesota, and one to the Red Sox before beating Boston in a Fenway Park night game.
Had the streak-ending contest consisted only of the first three and final three innings, the Sox would have extended the KC loss string to eight: the Royals were scoreless and managed only one hit (Whit Merrifield‘s lead-off single in the first) in those six frames and Boston scored twice.
The middle innings were much, much different.
In the fourth, Hunter Dozier worked Boston starter Andrew Cashner for a full-count walk, then scored on Jorge Soler’s 30th home run of the season, a first-pitch bomb to left that gave KC a 2-1 lead. Jakob Junis worked around a single and a walk to hold Boston scoreless in the inning’s bottom half.
Ryan O’Hearn hit a Cashner 3-2 delivery out to right to lead off the KC fifth. The homer, O’Hearn’s seventh, put the Royals up 3-1. Junis worked a 1-2-3 inning to preserve the lead.
The Royals finished Cashner off in the sixth. Merrifield led off with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch to Alex Gordon; two batters later, Dozier drove in Merrifield with an infield hit. Soler then belted a 1-0 Cashner offering out to left-center for his 31st homer, and KC had a 6-1 lead. Junis, now dominating the Sox, retired the side on ground balls in the bottom of the inning.
KC couldn’t manage a hit the rest of the way, but it didn’t matter. Junis, who limited Boston to just a run in six innings, gave way to Richard Lovelady to start the seventh. He allowed Boston only a run in his two innings and Ian Kennedy closed the Sox out in the ninth for the 6-2 win.
Ultimately, this game had no impact on the standings. The Royals finished fourth in the AL Central and Boston, the defending World Series champion, missed the postseason with a third place finish in the AL East, 19½ games behind New York. But Soler slammed two homers en route to a club-record, Junis pitched one of his best games of the season, and KC snapped its second-longest losing streak of the year. It was a top August moment.