BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Red Sox slammed their way through their most wins in April ever.
Xander Bogaerts hit a grand slam over the Green Monster and Boston finished April by beating the Kansas City Royals 10-6 on Monday night.
Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer and had three hits along with Bogaerts for the Red Sox, who posted their 19th victory in April. They had reached 18 three times, the last coming in their World Series-winning 2013 season.
It was Boston’s sixth slam of the season — all coming in April — and tied them with 1996 Montreal Expos for most ever in the majors by May 1. The Red Sox didn’t even hit one last season.
“I didn’t hit a grand slam in my career, it’s not because of me,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said, breaking into a smile.
Bogaerts had a simple answer.
“Especially with the bases loaded, we’re getting some good swings,” he said. “I think we’ve been really selective and looking for some good pitches to hit.”
Despite playing, at times, in lousy conditions at home — like Monday night when it was chilly night with temperatures in the mid-40s and a light rain falling most of the game — the Red Sox offense continues to hit homers unlike the team that was last in the AL in 2017.
“It’s not the best weather to play in,” Bogaerts said. “But, it’s playable.”
Whit Merrifield had three hits and two RBIs for the Royals, who were coming off their first consecutive wins this season.
Hector Velazquez (4-0), the first of three relievers, worked two scoreless innings of relief for the victory.
Trailing 3-0, Boston scored a run in the second on Moreland’s homer and five off Jason Hammel (0-3) in a third inning highlighted by Bogaerts’ slam that completely left Fenway Park. Moreland drew a bases-loaded walk for the other run.
“I thought that Jason’s first couple of innings were good and then he really started to fight it himself a little bit in the third,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “The grand slam was a pitch that was up and in, which I don’t think he was trying to go there.”
Boston fell in the 3-0 hole in the first when starter Eduardo Rodriguez gave up three runs on three walks, two singles and a hit batsman.
Royals: SS Alcides Escobar was back in the lineup after leaving Sunday’s game with a bruised left hand from being hit by a pitch. … DH Mike Moustakas was hit by a pitch and came out with a bruised left forearm.
Red Sox: Cora decided to give OF Mookie Betts a second straight day off because of a tight right hamstring that forced him out Saturday. “I feel like not starting today is going to benefit him, but if we need it late in the game, we’ll use him,” Cora said.
PRESS BOX CONFUSION
The Royals made a late lineup change, which caused confusion in the press box when everyone thought the club had moved its DH to third base after Moustakas had to leave in the first.
It would have forced pitcher Hammel to hit.
The problem was: The Royals had given a new lineup to the umpires from the one posted in the press box and on Fenway’s scoreboards that had Moustakas at third base and Cheslor Cuthbert as the DH.
Cuthbert came in at third base at the bottom of the first.
Both starting pitchers were out by the fifth inning.
Rodriguez gave up five runs, walked three, hit two batters and struck out six in four.
Hammel was tagged for eight runs on eight hits in 4 2/3.
The Royals’ traveling party had 28 extra guests because they were invited to bring their dads or brothers on the trip.
“I really, really enjoy it – a chance to come to Fenway. They went on a tour here, a private tour. I think they all enjoyed that,” Yost said. “It’s just a phenomenal trip together being able to share three days like this.”
Royals: RHP Jakob Junis (3-2, 3.34 ERA) hopes to rebound Tuesday from a miserable previous start when gave up a club-record tying five homers against the White Sox.
Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (2-1, 2.31) looks to continue his strong run, having allowed three or fewer runs – one or less four times – in his initial six starts.