- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
The double play combination of Adalberto Mondesi and Nicky Lopez gave the Kansas City Royals momentum-shifting plays on both offense and defense and still found time to crack each other up a little bit on the field.
After Mondesi launched a jaw-dropping 464-foot home run, the fourth-longest home run hit by a Royal since Statcast started tracking them in 2015, the two shared a laugh in the field as they both marveled at the majestic moonshot.
“You’ve seen some balls hit by (Jorge) Soler and Salvy (Perez),” Lopez said. “It was funny. I went to him after the game on the diamond and I go, ‘That was probably the farthest ball I’ve ever seen hit.’ And he goes, ‘Me too.’ So I started dying laughing because Mondi is one of the most humble guys out there.”
For the first time in a while, the Royals had ample reason for joviality as they snapped their six-game losing streak Friday night with a series-opening 5-3 win over the Boston Red Sox in front of an announced 29,870 at Kauffman Stadium, their largest home crowd of the season.
The Royals (31-37) had lost 11 of 12 games overall entering Friday night, and they hadn’t won at home since June 4 against the Minnesota Twins.
“We had great fans today,” Lopez said. “I think they said it was the biggest crowd of the year, which was awesome. When they bring the energy, you kind of feel that heartbeat. You get that energy. … There’s growing pains, but I think the best is yet to come with this group.”
Lopez, who started beside Mondesi at second base for just the second time this season, reached base three times. He went 2 for 3 with a walk and a run scored.
Mondesi went 1 for 3 with a walk and homered in his third consecutive game, including the last game he played prior to his stint on the injured list with a hamstring strain.
“It’s amazing how the ball jumps off his bat, and he’s a difference maker,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said of Mondesi. “Also, Nicky Lopez today, what he was able to do — that was a defensive display.”
Lopez turned a crucial run-saving double play in the third inning and made another diving stop and throw with a runner on to end the eighth inning.
“Between the two of them, the guys in the middle, making plays and then making this happen offensively too,” Matheny said. “It was a really nice job.”
Royals catcher Salvador Perez smashed a home run and moved into sole possession of fifth place on the franchise’s all-time home run list. His 170th homer in a Royals uniform moved him past Hal McRae.
Whit Merrifield, who started in right field, had an RBI and registered his fourth consecutive multi-hit game with two doubles.
The Royals went with right-handed pitcher Kyle Zimmer as the “opener” for the game. He pitched two scoreless innings to get the club off to a solid start before he turned it over to left-hander Kris Bubic.
Bubic, who made his first relief appearance since May 13, allowed two runs on five hits in 2 2/3 innings.
Bubic gave up a run in the third inning, his first, on an RBI single by Alex Verdugo — the third of three consecutive singles to start Bubic’s outing.
Third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez turned an unconventional double play with Lopez to keep another run from scoring in the inning when J.D. Martinez ripped a hard-hit ball to third.
With runners on first and third Gutierrez gloved Martinez’s grounder, threw to Lopez, and Lopez threw to the plate in time to get the runner from third (Christian Arroyo) who hesitated before he broke for home.
Mondesi gave the Royals their first runs and first lead of the day with a no-doubt-about-it three-run home run in the third inning. With Carlos Santana and Perez on base, Mondesi turned on a 1-1 fastball from Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta and blasted it down the right-field line.
The Royals took a 3-1 lead on Mondesi’s fourth home run of the season (Friday was his ninth game).
Bubic gave up the second of his two runs allowed in the fifth inning on a two-out RBI single up the middle by Martinez. That made it a one-run game, and Ervin Santana took over on the mound in the fifth with two outs and two men on. He stranded the bases loaded.
“Erv did a great job of picking me up,” Bubic said. “The defense kind of helped me settle in there. A great play by Guti and Nicky, of course, throwing it back to Salvy for the double play. That helped calm things down a little bit.”
Ervin Santana held the Red Sox in check for 1 1/3 innings before he handed it over to left-hander Jake Brentz.
Meanwhile, the Royals offense tacked on another run with Merrifield’s two-out RBI double just inside the foul line in the right-field corner. Lopez scored, giving the Royals a 4-2 advantage.
Perez’s seventh-inning opposite-field solo home run, his 18th homer of the season, gave the Royals a 5-2 edge until Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers responded with a solo blast of his own off of reliever Scott Barlow in the top of the eighth.
Devers’ home run snapped Barlow’s streak of 38 consecutive innings without having allowed a home run.
Brentz and Greg Holland pitched scoreless innings of relief. Holland bounced back — from having given up three runs in 1/3 of an inning in a loss on Wednesday — by retiring the side in order in the ninth on Friday for his fourth save of the season.