HEADLINE

Red Sox reach 60 wins first, look to add vs. Royals

The Sports Xchange

July 06, 2018 at 10:51 pm.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The opener of the Boston Red Sox’s three-game series with the Kansas City Royals on Friday night went as anticipated on paper.

The Red Sox jumped out to an 8-0 lead after two innings and Chris Sale dominated the Royals, striking out 12 in six innings. The Royals scored four meaningless runs the final three innings against the Red Sox bullpen in a 10-5 loss.

The Red Sox and Royals will meet again Saturday night and Boston will again be heavily favored.

Boston (60-29) leads the majors with 60 victories and has a major league-best .674 winning percentage. The Red Sox are 31 games above .500 for the first time since concluding the 2013 season at 97-65.

Their 60 wins are the fourth most after 89 games in the 118-year franchise history. The only teams with more wins after 89 games were the 1946 Red Sox at 63-26 and the 1912 and 1978 clubs at 61-28.

Boston is 5-2 on its nine-game, 10-day trip to New York, Washington and Kansas City. It is 32-17 away from Fenway Park.

The Red Sox are 3-1 against the Royals this season. The Royals went 8-4 against the Red Sox in the previous two seasons, Boston’s worst record against any opponent during that span.

Left-hander David Price will start for the Red Sox on Saturday. He is 9-6 with a 4.28 ERA in his first 17 starts.

Price is coming off a poor start on Sunday at Yankee Stadium, allowing eight runs and nine hits across 3 1/3 innings.

Before that, Price had been magnificent in his previous nine starts, posting a 7-1 record with a 2.72 ERA. He allowed 17 earned runs in 56 1/3 innings during a span from May 12 through June 26. He allowed no more than three earned runs in any of those starts.

Price is unbeaten in seven career starts and one bullpen appearance against the Royals. He is 4-0 with a 2.13 ERA against Kansas City, giving up 12 earned runs in 50 2/3 innings.

The Red Sox’s dynamic duo of Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez are tough on any pitching staff and that was the case again Friday.

Betts led off the game with a home run, the 100th of his career. He joins Tony Conigliaro, Jim Rice and Ted Williams as the only Red Sox players with 100 home runs before their 26th birthday.

Betts is batting .369 (41-for-111) with nine home runs and 19 RBIs in 26 career games against the Royals. His batting average is the best for any opposing hitter with a minimum of 100 at-bats against Kansas City.

Martinez hit a two-run shot in the second inning and leads the majors with 27 home runs. Only Carl Yastrzemski, 29 in 1969, and David Ortiz, 31 in 2006, had more homers before the All-Star break. Martinez leads the American League with 73 RBIs.

The Royals will send rookie right-hander Brad Keller (2-3, 2.09 ERA) to the mound as they attempt to snap a seven-game losing streak.

Keller, a Rule Five pick from the Arizona Diamondbacks, threw an eight-inning, complete-game six-hitter at Seattle in his previous start, only to lose 1-0 to the Mariners.

He is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 13 appearances at Kauffman Stadium. He has a 2.25 ERA in three home starts.

Keller made two relief appearances in May at Boston. He got the final two outs of the seventh inning withoutout giving up any runs in a 5-4, 11-inning victory on May 1 and the next day threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings.