Kansas City, Mo. James Shields picked up his first home win in more than three months and the Kansas City Royals have won seven consecutive series for the first time in 22 years.
Shields pitched seven strong innings, Alex Gordon homered and the Kansas City Royals beat the Boston Red Sox 4-3 on Sunday.
The Royals improved to 18-5 since the All-Star break, winning every series. The last time they won seven straight series was 1991.
“It’s huge,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “You can’t understate it. The fact of the matter is that’s nice, but it doesn’t mean anything tomorrow.
“It’s big, but you’ve got to keep plugging. I wouldn’t classify it as a statement (series) win. But it’s still the team with the best record came in and we won three out of four. We’re playing great baseball right now. We just have to maintain our focus on that.”
Shields (7-8), who had not won at Kauffman Stadium since an April 30 victory over Tampa Bay, limited the Red Sox to three runs and seven hits over seven innings. He struck out five and walked three.
“I feel like ever since the All-Star break, we’ve been making a statement,” Shields said. “We’re here to stay and compete. Our bullpen has been phenomenal. Our defense has been great. We’re getting some good timely hitting.”
Gordon hit a 2-2 pitch from John Lackey (7-10) out to right in the third inning for his third homer in five games.
“He went through a little down period about a week ago, but the last week he’s been really swinging the bat really, really well,” Yost said. “The thing about Alex is when he gets hot, he can carry you for a while.”
Lackey, who is 0-4 in his past five starts, walked David Lough and Eric Hosmer to lead off the first. Gordon’s two-out single scored Lough to tie it at 1.
Shane Victorino scored Boston’s first run when he doubled in the first, stole third and came home on catcher Salvador Perez’s errant pickoff throw.
The Royals scored two runs in the third, with Jarrod Dyson and Lough delivering RBI singles. Dyson’s hit drove home Mike Moustakas, who doubled to start the inning. Dyson stole second and scored on Lough’s flare to shallow right.
After a rocky start, Lackey lasted seven innings, giving up four runs and seven hits and two walks, while striking out five.
“It was a grind early,” Lackey said. “I wasn’t feeling really great. I had a couple of 3-2 counts and didn’t make my pitch. I was lucky to get the ground ball for the double play in the first and then I found my groove and started to make my pitches.”
“For me to walk two in one inning let alone to lead off the game is hard to believe. I didn’t execute and I lost the game.”
Ryan Lavarnway’s two-out single in the sixth scored Daniel Nava and Stephen Drew, trimming the Kansas City lead to 4-3. Drew went 2 for 4 and is hitting .422 in his season-high, 12-game hitting streak.
Nava is convinced the Royals are a playoff contender.
“Of course,” Nava said. “Everyone realizes with their offense and pitching it’s just a matter of time before they click.”
Royals relievers Tim Collins, Aaron Crow and Greg Holland, who earned his 32nd save in 34 opportunities, worked two scoreless innings to protect the one-run lead. The bullpen has allowed one run in 20 innings on this homestand.
Royals notes: Perez came off the concussion list, while RHP Wade Davis was removed from the family emergency leave list and will start today against Miami. IF Irving Falu was recalled from Triple-A Omaha. LHP Donnie Joseph was optioned to Omaha, while C Brett Hayes was designated for assignment.
Royals fill infield gap with Twins' Carroll
The contending Kansas City Royals quickly moved to fill a gap, getting infielder Jamey Carroll in a trade with the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.
The Twins will receive either a player to be named or cash for the 39-year-old veteran.
Earlier in the day, the Royals put Miguel Tejada on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right calf. The 39-year-old Tejada, who hurt himself diving for a ball on Saturday, was hitting .288 in 53 games and had won the starting second base job.
Carroll singled and scored for the Twins in their 5-2 win over the Chicago White Sox. He is hitting .230 with nine RBIs.
“If I can go there and contribute in a positive way, I know the team is playing extremely well right now and they have a bunch of good young guys and some great pitching,” Carroll said. “It should be exciting to get over there and get in that clubhouse.”
Royals manager Ned Yost was eager to have him.
“Jamey Carroll is a pro’s pro,” Yost said after the Royals beat Boston 4-3. “He’s a very solid player. He hits left-handed pitching very well. He can play second, third and short in that order. Those are about his best positions. He’ll give you a real quality at-bat.”
“Miguel’s injury kind of put a hole over there right now for us,” he said. “We’ll play him at second. When Moose (third baseman Mike Moustakas) needs a break, we can play him at third. He’s a very proficient third baseman, too.”
The Twins will make a corresponding roster move today.
“As much as anything, this is a deal for Jamey Carroll to go on a team that’s in a playoff race and go over there and add his professionalism and experience to that club and give them an opportunity to get into a race,” Twins assistant GM Rob Antony said.