It was by no means graceful, but for the third start in a row, Edinson Volquez picked up a win as the Royals defeated the Red Sox 7-4 Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals have won eight of Volquez's previous nine starts, including the last three in a row.
"Every time he's out there, you know you're gonna get a good start," Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said before Saturday's game. "You don't got to do too much. All you gotta do is find a way to produce a couple of runs, because if you put up a couple of runs early or get out to an early lead, there's a good chance he's gonna coast with that lead."
Quite the opposite occurred Saturday, when Volquez allowed four runs on eight hits in 5 and 1/3 innings.
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From the third pitch of the night — a two-seam fastball that didn't come back inside enough, and which Mookie Betts deposited over the left-center field wall — Volquez and the Royals battled from behind.
Volquez, 7-4, allowed doubles to Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart and shortstop Brock Holt in the third, which gave Boston a 2-1 lead.
That lead increased in the fifth, when the Red Sox added two more runs and put the Royals in a 4-1 hole.
In the fifth inning, Dustin Pedroia dribbled a ball in front of home plate and Betts, who was running on the pitch from second, raced home because no one was covering the plate after catcher Salvador Perez had to field the ball.
Yost said the run was Volquez's fault for not covering the plate.
Regardless of his line, Volquez said his performance pleased him.
"I feel good. It's one of those games you didn't strike out many guys, but you're able to throw strikes and stay in the game like I did tonight," Volquez said. "That's a pretty good team."
The bats came alive in the bottom half of the fifth inning to bail Volquez out, but he wasn't nearly as effective as he'd been in his last two starts at Minnesota and Milwaukee, in which he allowed only three runs over 12 innings.
"He wasn't extremely sharp," manager Ned Yost said. "But yeah, he threw the ball well. He threw pitches when he needed to for the most part.
"When he's on, his change-up is really good, his curveball is biting and down, and he can spot his fastball extremely well."
Volquez is now 21-0 over the past two seasons when his offense scores four or more runs.
The only time Volquez pitched with a lead, the top of the sixth, he got Mike Napoli to fly out before surrendering a triple to Alejandro De Aza, which ended his outing.
▪ Saturday was Mike Moustakas bobblehead day at the stadium. Moustakas had two hits and two RBIs in the game. His sacrifice fly to center field in the five-run bottom of the fifth plated Omar Infante to cut the deficit to 4-3. He also doubled in the third and singled in a run in the sixth.
▪ The Royals announced a crowd of 39,115, the 11th sellout of the season.