Royals enjoy romp over Red Sox at Fenway
Big sixth inning gives Kansas City victory in series opener
BOSTON -- Finally, fun at Fenway.
Kansas City came from behind on Thursday to defeat Boston, 8-6, as a sellout crowd of 38,189 watched at Fenway Park, where the Royals have rarely frolicked in recent years. They were swept in four games here last season and were just 5-17 at Fenway since 2003.
David DeJesus' two-run homer in the sixth inning put the Royals ahead, 7-5, as they rallied for four runs, which turned out to be enough to win the series opener. It was DeJesus' first homer at Fenway in 73 career at-bats.
"It only took me 73," DeJesus said happily. "Try to keep it real."
During a harum-scarum eighth, closer Joakim Soria entered the game, ended the inning and wrapped up the victory with four consecutive outs, disappointing Fenway's 511th consecutive sellout crowd.
"They've got a special thing in this stadium, a lot of fans, and it's different here," Soria said.
Hoo, boy, is it ever.
Something else was different on this lovely evening in Beantown. The Royals summoned up the most runs -- eight, count 'em, eight -- they've scored in a month. Or since they won, 9-0, on June 10 at Cleveland.
"We've been swinging the bats well lately, and we just hope things are turning the corner for us," Willie Bloomquist said.
Well, maybe. The Royals have won four of their past six games, averaging five runs per game. Against the Red Sox, they crushed 13 hits, and Bloomquist had three of them.
His biggest was a triple that scored KC's eighth run, in the eighth inning. It was Bloomquist's seventh triple this season, surpassing the total of six he had in seven years with Seattle.
"I don't like doubles, so I'll keep going," he said.
Starter Luke Hochevar gave up five runs in his six innings but emerged with his fifth victory. He gave up two homers -- David Ortiz's two-run blast and Dustin Pedroia's solo shot.
Down, 4-0, the Royals popped up with a three-run fourth against Red Sox starter Brad Penny. The inning included hits by Jose Guillen, Mark Teahen, Miguel Olivo and Alberto Callaspo, two stolen bases and a wild heave by catcher Jason Varitek.
"That's huge. When you put a three-spot, that's big. The momentum switches," Hochevar said.
The game turned the Royals' way in the sixth against reliever Manny Delcarmen. Teahen doubled and, after two outs, Callaspo belted his second RBI double. Justin Masterson replaced Delcarmen, and Ryan Freel blooped a game-tying single into center field.
"Masterson made a real good pitch on Freel that falls," said Red Sox manager Tony Francona. "That, to me, is the big pitch. He hit in no-man's land, and then they get the homer."
Yep, that brought up DeJesus, who was merely hoping to stroke a hit to the opposite field in left or plug a gap or something. Yet he managed to pull an 0-1 pitch over the right-field fence.
"He came in with a fastball, and I put a short swing to it," DeJesus said. "I didn't think it was going to go out. It plays really deep out there in right field. I saw [J.D. Drew] getting closer to the ball, and coming and coming, and the next thing you know -- I didn't see it. Yes! It gave us a home run, and gave us that little cushion that we needed."
After Bloomquist's RBI triple in the top of the eighth made it 8-5, reliever Juan Cruz had an uncustomary lapse. After retiring 18 consecutive batters, he began the bottom of the frame with two straight walks.
"It got a little anxious in the eighth," manager Trey Hillman said. "You don't like to see back-to-back walks, you don't like to see a leadoff walk."
There was a forceout at third, but then Callaspo, ranging far to his left for Varitek's grounder, threw off target to second base. The error filled the bases with one out.
After Mark Kotsay hit a sacrifice fly for an 8-6 score, Hillman called for Soria, who struck out Nick Green and proceeded to add a perfect ninth to earn his 14th save.
"Coming back against a team like Boston, against a pitcher like Penny and the bullpen that they have, you've got to feel good about it," Bloomquist said.
Finally, some fun at Fenway.
"It's a tough place to pitch, a tough lineup to face, especially in this ballpark," Hochevar said. "But it's a fun place to pitch as well."
Especially when you win.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.