A long Wednesday night in Boston brought the curtain mercifully down on the terrible month June was for the KC Royals. In an evening lengthened by two rain delays totaling almost two and a half hours—one caused it to start over 30 minutes late and another interrupted the contest for almost two hours in the sixth inning—Kansas City lost to the Red Sox 6-2.
It was the Royals’ third straight loss to Boston and gave the Sox the win of a four-game series that wraps up this afternoon. Worse, however, is that this defeat was Kansas City’s eighth in a row and kept the club in sole possession of last place in the American League Central.
Ending June in the division cellar seemed implausible when the month began. The Royals appeared recovered from the ghastly 11-game losing streak they suffered at the beginning of May and entered the month back at .500. They won three in a row to start June and, at 29-26, were a full eight games ahead of last place Minnesota June 4.
That, though, is where the best of June ended. Kansas City promptly lost 11 of its next 12, finds itself mired in a losing streak rivaling May’s 11-game skid, and finished June 7-20.
At 33-46, the Royals trail first place Chicago by 14 games, an almost impossible margin to overcome. Any postseason berth is all but out of reach—KC is 13 games behind in the Wild Card race.
Wednesday’s final June loss came as so many had before it. The starting pitching wasn’t up to snuff—Mike Minor, tied with Brad Keller for the team lead in wins and coming off a horrendous nine-run, five-inning performance at Texas last Friday, lost his fourth game of the month by giving Boston five runs in five innings. He didn’t return after the sixth inning rain delay and is now 6-6 with a too-high 5.33 ERA. Only Keller has more losses (eight).
And Kansas City again failed to muster much offense. The Royals scored just twice, once in the second on Salvador Perez’s 19th home run of the season, and again in the sixth on Carlos Santana’s run-scoring groundout.
Santana, Hunter Dozier, Michael A. Taylor, and Hanser Alberto all went hitless. Dozier struck out three times and watched his average drop to .160.
An injury scare struck the KC Royals in the seventh inning of the game.
Kansas City has had more than its share of injuries this season, and came close to another Wednesday night. Reliever Richard Lovelady appeared for the first time this season and, after retiring the first five Red Sox he faced, took a shot in the abdomen off J.D. Martinez’s bat in the seventh. He managed to throw Martinez out but immediately departed. Manager Mike Matheny suggested the situation doesn’t appear serious.
The situation follows close on the heels of the broken hamate bone rookie Emmanuel Rivera suffered Tuesday night, just a game after making his two-hit major league debut Monday. Reliever Wade Davis landed on the Injured List Tuesday with a right forearm strain. Adalberto Mondesi (oblique), Andrew Benintendi (rib fracture), Cam Gallagher (shoulder impingement syndrome), Ronald Bolanos (forearm strain), and Jesse Hahn (shoulder impingement syndrome) are also on the IL.
Despite losing and Lovelady’s bad moment, the KC Royals had some bright spots.
Perez’s home run highlighted his 4-for-4 night, a welcome effort after he’d gone 2-for-24 following the foul tip he took to the chin June 23.
Jorge Soler, batting second for the third straight game, went 2-for-4 and is now 4-for-13 with a pair of two-hit games since moving up in the lineup.
And the KC Royals avoided digging too far into their bullpen in this ninth of 20 straight games without a scheduled day off. Lovelady threw 1.2 innings and Anthony Swarzak added 1.1.
The Royals try to avoid a Fenway Park sweep this afternoon. Kris Bubic starts for Kansas City against Boston’s Nathan Eovaldi. First pitch is set for 12:10 p.m. CT.