Miserable second inning plagues Pino in first big-league start of season

Yohan Pino, making his first start of the season, was victimized by a five-run second inning in which Boston knocked five hits off the right-hander.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The balls jumped off the Boston bats, destined for the outfield. Yohan Pino threw them up to the plate and the Red Sox whizzed them right past him.

The Red Sox touched up Pino for six runs as they cruised to a 7-3 win over Kansas City on Friday night at Kauffman Stadium. Pino, making his first major league start of the season, was victimized by a five-run second inning in which Boston knocked five hits off the right-hander.

The Red Sox sent nine men to the plate in the inning and the Royals ultimately allowed a season-high 16 hits to Boston.

"I missed a couple pitches up in the zone and then I get some groundballs and they find a hole," Pino said. "Not anything you can do about that."

Once Pino escaped the miserable second inning, he got the Royals through 3 1/3 more frames, preserving the bullpen and saving Kansas City’s top relief arms for the rest of the series. Pino exited in the sixth inning with one out after serving up a double to Mike Napoli.

"You don’t want to put yourself in jeopardy in a game when you fall way behind early of it affecting the next two days and we got past that," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We did OK."

Boston left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez silenced the Kansas City lineup Friday night, finishing 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball. He scattered six hits and a walk while striking out five. The Royals still finished with 10 hits in the game off Rodriguez and a trio of Boston relievers, but stranded nine runners on base.

First baseman Eric Hosmer collected one hit off Rodriguez and blasted an eighth-inning home run off Robbie Ross Jr. It was the first time the Royals had seen Rodriguez, and Hosmer said they used their first at-bats to feel out Rodriguez. After that, not much changed.

"Just couldn’t get anything going second or third time through and nothing really special pattern or anything that he did," Hosmer said. "He just has good stuff and he’s a tough guy to get on."

Rodriguez barely waded into trouble against the Royals. Two batters managed extra-base hits and Kansas City had only three at-bats with runners in scoring position against the left-hander.

He departed after an Alex Rios single in the seventh inning put two men aboard.

Despite 16 hits and three walks, Boston pushed across just seven runs and left seven more on base. Kansas City turned five double plays on Friday, the most since they did so against the Angels in 2011.

But the double plays weren’t enough to keep Pino from falling into a hole. He was used as a spot starter for the injured Yordano Ventura, who landed on the disabled list Thursday. Pino was primarily used as a starter at Triple A Omaha and had performed well in his first stint with the Royals.

Yost was unsure whether Pino would make his next scheduled start, an outing dependent on the collective health and availability of his other starters.

The Royals’ offense has been relatively hushed the past couple of nights, plating only three runs each game. The lull comes after an explosion of runs against Milwaukee, when they scored 25 runs in the first three games against the Brewers.

"Yeah, you just chalk up tonight as a loss," Hosmer said. "We’re facing a good team that’s been on a little bit of a skid so you know they’re due to break out of it."

You can follow Matthew DeFranks on Twitter at @MDeFranks or email him at matthew.defranks@gmail.com.