Rolling Red Sox, reeling Royals ready for rematch

MLB Kansas City

Boston’s Nick Pivetta and Kansas City’s Brad Keller will look to limit the long ball when their teams meet in the second game of a four-game series on Tuesday night.

The host Red Sox, who fell behind early but won 6-5 on Monday, hit four home runs while the Royals launched three.

Hunter Renfroe hit a go-ahead solo shot in the sixth inning after blasting a two-run homer in the fourth. Enrique Hernandez and Bobby Dalbec added solo home runs for the Red Sox.

Meanwhile, Carlos Santana had a three-run homer in the first inning and Michael A. Taylor and Whit Merrifield added solo shots in the second for the Royals.

“They came out of the gate swinging really well. As far as us, we swung the bat really well as well,” Renfroe said. “(We) got some timely hits when we need to, and the big bats answered (them) real quick.”

Boston won its fourth game in a row. The Royals have dropped six in a row and are 1-6 since beating the Red Sox 7-3 in the rubber match of a three-game series in Kansas City on June 20.

“(The ball) was carrying, but our guys were getting into ’em, too — a lot of cheapies,” Kansas City manager Mike Matheny said. “We come out of the gate and our offense is able to do some things, and we’re looking for a shutdown right there (that we didn’t get).”

Pivetta (6-3, 4.00 ERA) was able to keep the ball in the park — and the opponent off the scoreboard — in his last start, which came Thursday at Tampa Bay. The right-hander pitched 6 2/3 no-hit innings with two walks and eight strikeouts before being lifted in the seventh after throwing 100 pitches.

Prior to that, Pivetta had coughed up six homers over his previous three starts — including one in a 5-3 defeat at Kansas City on June 18 in his lone career start against the Royals. He lasted five innings and allowed three runs on six hits with three walks and six strikeouts en route to his third loss in four games.

Keller (6-8, 6.39 ERA) is in desperate need of a turnaround. He is on a four-start losing skid and has surrendered at least four runs in each of those outings.

The right-hander gave up four runs on nine hits, including two home runs, while walking four and punching out three in five innings in a road loss to the New York Yankees on Thursday.

In his prior start, Keller was shelled for five runs on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts in five innings in a 7-1 loss to Boston on June 19. Keller is 0-1 with a 6.94 ERA in four career appearances, including two starts, against the Red Sox.

Boston’s J.D. Martinez is 2-for-8 with a home run and three RBIs lifetime against Keller, while teammate Xander Bogaerts is 2-for-6 with four runs driven in against him.

The Royals will be hoping for another offensive boost from rookie third baseman Emmanuel Rivera, who went 2-for-4 on Monday in his major league debut. Rivera, who will turn 25 on Tuesday, collected his first hit on a first-inning, two-out single.

–Field Level Media

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