Long ball dogs Duffy in Royals’ 5-4 loss to Red Sox

J.D. Martinez (circling the bases) had one of three homers off Danny Duffy. Mookie Betts (not pictured) had the other three.
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

BOSTON — Mookie Betts heard the name Ted Williams, and that was enough for him.

Betts belted three solo homers and J.D. Martinez also went deep, powering the Boston Red Sox to a 5-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday.

It was the fourth three-homer game for the 25-year-old Betts, snapping a tie with Williams for most three-homer games in franchise history. Betts broke into the majors with the Red Sox in 2014, so he was well aware of the significance of the connection to the Hall of Famer.

“It’s pretty cool,” Betts said. “He hit .400 in a year and did a whole bunch of things I haven’t done. Just to know my name is amongst his is pretty cool.”

Betts also hit three homers in a 10-1 victory at the Angels on April 17. He is the first player in major league history with four three-homer games before turning 26, according to STATS.

“We’re trying to shut them down just to get Mookie another at-bat,” Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz said, smiling. “When he gets going like that, that’s pretty cool.”

AL East-leading Boston won for the third time in four games after losing 7-6 in 13 innings Tuesday night.

Cheslor Cuthbert homered for Kansas City and Drew Butera had a two-run double. The Royals were trying to win consecutive games for just the second time this season.

Danny Duffy (0-4) was tagged for five runs and 10 hits — including all four Boston homers — in 6 2/3 innings.

Pomeranz (1-1) worked six innings, giving up all three of his runs in the first two frames. Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth for his eighth save and 299th of his career a day after his first blown opportunity this season.

Unlike most of the early-season games in Fenway Park, there was a summer-like feel with a game-time temperature of 86 degrees under bright-blue skies.

Betts led off the fourth with a drive to center for his ninth homer of the season. Hanley Ramirez walked with one out and Martinez followed with a drive to center, tying it at 3.

“I see Mookie Betts six times a year,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Going on a six-game look, a special player.”

Betts connected again in the fifth, sending a drive just inside the left-field foul pole into the Green Monster seats. His third homer of the game also came against Duffy, driving a 1-2 pitch over the wall in center in the seventh.

“I’m searching for outs. I’m tired of going out there and getting my butt kicked,” said Duffy, who is winless in his career against the Red Sox.

Kansas City narrowed the gap to 5-4 on Cuthbert’s homer in the eighth, but Boston finished it off from there.

The umpiring crew had four calls overturned, including two by first-base umpire Fieldin Culbreth.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Royals: 3B Mike Moustakas returned to the starting lineup after pinch hitting Tuesday. He was hit by a pitch on the right forearm in the series opener.

Red Sox: Betts started for the first time since leaving Saturday’s game with a tight right hamstring. … LHP Eduardo Rodriguez was placed on the family medical leave list and RHP Marcus Walden was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket. Manager Alex Cora doesn’t know if the lefty will miss his turn in the rotation.

GET BACK

The Royals scored a strange run in the first.

With Jorge Soler on second and Whit Merrifield on third and one out, Salvador Perez hit a fly ball near the triangle in center.

Merrifield waved Soler back as he raced home. Soler was doubled up.

Perez was credited with a sacrifice fly because Merrifield crossed before the double play was completed.

ALLOWED BACK

Boston right-hander Joe Kelly returned after serving a six-game suspension for his part in a brawl with the Yankees last month. He pitched one scoreless inning.

UP NEXT

Royals: LHP Eric Skoglund (1-2, 6.23 ERA) starts Thursday afternoon at home against Detroit. He allowed one run in a career-high seven innings in his previous start.

Red Sox: LHP David Price (2-3, 3.78 ERA) starts Thursday night at Texas in the opener of a 10-game trip, tying the club’s longest this season. He is 4-5 with a 5.11 ERA in 14 career starts against the Rangers.