KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — When the Kansas City Royals look at the AL Central standings Saturday morning, they will be looking up at the Detroit Tigers for the first time in more than a month.
Allen Webster pitched six solid innings and Jemile Weeks stroked a pair of doubles and scored two runs as the Boston Red Sox defeated the sputtering Royals 4-2 on Friday night.
Kansas City lost for the fourth time in five games and fell out of first place for the first time since Aug. 10. The Royals, who are 0-5 against the last-place Red Sox, dropped a half-game behind Detroit, which beat Cleveland 7-2.
“I want them to toughen up and get back into first place,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. “I want them to look at it and to say, ‘Let’s go. We’ve got to get ourselves into first place.’ It’s not time to sit and feel sorry for yourself because you’re not in first place anymore. I’m not saying that they do. That’s not a group that does it. Our goal now is to get back into first place.”
Webster (4-3), who had allowed 15 runs on 16 hits and seven walks in 13 2-3 innings over his previous three starts, limited the Royals to four hits — including Eric Hosmer’s two-run homer in the fourth.
The Royals failed to get a hit after that inning.
“Detroit was out of first place for a while and are now back in it,” said Alex Gordon, mired in a 1-for-21 slump. “Why can’t we? It is part of the season. The season is not over.
“We’re just not playing the way we are capable. That’s going to happen throughout a season. You’ve got to accept it and come here tomorrow with a new attitude and hopefully get it done tomorrow.”
Weeks, who had a two-run double in the ninth inning Thursday, doubled in the third and fifth. Mookie Betts singled home Weeks in a three-run third. He scored again on Daniel Nava’s two-out single in the fifth.
The Royals aided the Red Sox in the third, with Betts scoring on third baseman Mike Moustakas’ throwing error and Nava scoring on Yordano Ventura’s wild pitch.
Ventura (12-10), who had won his previous three starts, gave up four runs — three earned — and seven hits in seven innings. He also hit two batters with pitches.
Red Sox relievers Tommy Layne, Burke Badenhop, Koji Uehara and Edward Mujica held the Royals hitless for the final three innings. Mujica earned his sixth save.
SHUFFLING THE DECK
Yost acknowledged he might shake up the batting order in an attempt to crank up the skidding offense.
“We might switch it up some tomorrow,” he said. “You really want to try to stay away from it and let it work itself out, but we’re kind of running out of time to work itself out. I’m not a big proponent of flip-flopping guys around much, but we might make a little tweak or two.”
GOT YOUR NUMBER
Red Sox pitchers have a 1.80 ERA this season against the Royals, holding them to a .206 batting average and nine extra-base hits.
Red Sox: DH David Ortiz (bruised right foot) and 1B Mike Napoli (sore toe and dislocated finger) did not play. … INF Brock Holt is out with concussion-like symptoms after being examined by a specialist in Pittsburgh.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy, who missed his turn Thursday with a tender shoulder, made about 30 throws at 75 feet on flat ground. He said his goal is to make his next start, which would be Tuesday against the White Sox. … DH Josh Willingham injured his groin in his final at-bat Thursday and will be out for at least a couple of games.
Red Sox: Rubby De La Rosa, who is 0-2 with a 6.20 ERA in his past five starts, will pitch the third game of the series. De La Rosa has allowed 37 hits and walked 11 in 24 2-3 innings over those five starts.
Royals: Jeremy Guthrie will make his 23rd appearance and 21st start against Boston on Saturday. He is 3-9 with a 5.06 ERA against the Red Sox and has not defeated them since 2011.
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