Royals try to take series from sputtering Red Sox

BOSTON — Danny Duffy has never beaten the Boston Red Sox, with the bulk of his poor numbers coming at Fenway Park. He is also winless in six starts this season.

But Wednesday, the left-hander has a chance to finally beat the Red Sox and give the Royals the matinee rubber match of the three-game series as Kansas City goes for its fourth win in the last five games.

Duffy, 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA this season, is winless in seven starts dating back to last year as he faces fellow lefty Drew Pomeranz in the finale. Duffy is 0-4 with a 6.75 ERA in six games lifetime against the Red Sox, but is 0-3 with a 7.97 ERA in four games at Fenway.

Pomeranz is also winless this season, going 0-1 with 7.27 ERA in two starts since coming off the disabled list in late April. He is 0-0 with a 1.98 ERA in three career games (two starts) against the Royals.

The Royals (8-21) survived a long battle at Fenway Tuesday night, winning 7-6 in 13 innings. Alex Gordon homered off Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning, Kansas City went ahead 4-3 in the 12th, but Boston’s Eduardo Nunez answered that with a homer in the bottom of the inning to tie the game again.

Jorge Soler’s three-run homer off Brian Johnson put the Royals ahead 7-4 in the 13th, and the Red Sox stranded the tying run on base after scoring twice in the bottom half.

A wild win, with Brian Flynn picking up his first career save when Nunez hit a fly ball to the center-field wall.

“We just kept battling and battling,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “That’s always been a hallmark of our team, no matter how difficult the times get. That’s why I’m so proud of watching these guys.”

Soler followed a .316 April by opening May with a huge hit. He went 2-for-6 Tuesday.

The Red Sox (21-8) have dropped six of their last 10 games and head out on a road trip after Wednesday’s game.

Among the many things that have gone right for Boston this season, the Red Sox defense has been near the top of the list. Not Tuesday, when they made four errors. They were also victimized by what amounted to a steal of home when Christian Vazquez threw to second for an out that was not recorded before John Jay (four hits, sacrifice fly) scored from third.

Later, Vazquez used his mask to gather in a loose ball and was called for a rare catcher’s balk.

“Awful. Awful,” manager Alex Cora said after the game. “That was a horrible game. We were lucky we were playing 13 innings, honestly.”

After his first blown save of 2018 and his first in his last 18 chances, Kimbrel said, “I just made a bad pitch and he hit it out of the park.”

Both Wednesday starters come into the game one game under .500 in their careers — Duffy 45-46 and Pomeranz 42-43.

The current Royals are a combined 11-for-46 with no homers and three RBIs against Pomeranz. Salvador Perez is 3-for-5, Alcides Escobar 2-for-4 and Ryan Goins 2-for-5, while Lucas Duda and Abraham Almonte both 0-for-5 against Pomeranz.

Jackie Bradley Jr. is 3-for-7 against Duffy, but Nunez is 2-for-10 and Xander Bogaerts is 2-for-9, although one of the hits is a home run.

The current Red Sox have four homers in 84 at-bats against him.

Mookie Betts, who missed three games with a hamstring issue, returned during Tuesday’s game and went 0-for-2. For the Royals, Mike Moustakas, who suffered a right arm contusion when hit by a pitch Monday, was able to pinch hit.

In an off-field move, coincidentally made with the team in Boston, the Royals released former Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz from his minor league contract as May 1 represented his opt-out day.