Royals drop series opener to Red Sox 4-1
BOSTON -- Danny Duffy didn't have to look too hard to find out where he went wrong as Kansas City's five-game winning streak came to an end.
Duffy battled through control problems through the first three innings and the Royals never recovered as the Boston Red Sox beat the Royals 4-1 Thursday night.
"They capitalized on all my mistakes today. I threw 75 pitches in the first three innings," Duffy said. "Quite honestly, I thought it was one of my worst starts of the year. Not at all pleased with it."
Boston one run in the first and added three runs in the third, which was all the offense Wade Miley needed while shutting down the Royals. Ryan Hanigan drove in two runs and scored another on Jackie Bradley Jr.'s triple to help the Red Sox end the Royals' streak and continue Boston's recent surge.
"He commanded really well and he did a great job for them tonight. He made quality pitches when he needed to and did a fantastic job," said Mike Moustakas, whose solo homer in the fifth was the only run the Royals scored.
Miley (10-9) allowed just one run. The Red Sox are 5-2 under bench coach Torey Lovullo, who took over last week when manager John Farrell announced that is being treated for cancer. Mookie Betts, Travis Shaw and Xander Bogaerts had two hits apiece for Boston.
Miley allowed one run on six hits while striking out six in 7 1/3 innings. Junichi Tazawa pitched the ninth for his second save.
Salvador Perez had two of the Royals' six hits. The AL Central leaders had won 10 of its last 12 to open a 14 1/2 game lead in the AL Central.
"That's baseball. That's just what happens. That's a good team over there," Moustakas said. "You can't take anybody lightly in this game, especially a quality team like the Red Sox."
Duffy (6-6) gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out three in five innings.
Duffy loaded the bases in the first before walking Shaw to score a run. The Red Sox made it 4-0 in the third when Hanigan singled with runners on second and third, then scored on Bradley's triple. It was Bradley's ninth straight hit that went for extra bases.
Bradley was batting .102 on Aug. 5 before hitting safely in 12 of the last 14 games -- including a five-hit, five-run, two-homer, seven-RBI game against Seattle on Saturday.
The Red Sox have won three in a row, and they are 2-0 since bringing in former Tigers boss Dave Dombrowski as their new president of baseball operations in a front office shuffle that left general manager Ben Cherington on the outs.
Manager Ned Yost said it took Duffy until the fourth inning before he was able to locate his pitches. Duffy agreed.
"My fastball had a lot of life today, but I just didn't locate worth a dang," Duffy said. "The fourth and fifth were really clean, but you can't wait to find your rhythm until the third or fourth inning."
Royals: LF Alex Gordon is scheduled to join Triple A Omaha this weekend and start a rehab assignment as he returns from a groin strain that has kept him out since early July. Gordon was with the Royals for the series opener Thursday and said the plan is to start as DH and alternate games with limited time in the outfield.
Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia could return from a nagging hamstring injury in early September. Lovullo said Pedroia had another MRI on the right hamstring and still needs to regain some strength before he's ready to return to the lineup.
Royals: RHP Johnny Cueto (2-1) makes his fifth AL start in the second game of the four-game series.
Red Sox: LHP Henry Owens (1-1) makes his fourth career start.