The Boston Red Sox won their second game in a row to open up second half play - and their third overall with a 2-1 win over the Kansas City Royals. The win keeps Boston within 8.5 games of the Orioles, who beat the Oakland A's Saturday night.
But for the Red Sox, they aren't worrying about the teams at the top of the standings as they are just reaching the .500 mark. Boston sits just seven games below an equal record after the one-run win.
The win also continues a run that is now up to eight games in a row. The last eight Boston wins at Fenway Park have come by one run - a pretty remarkable streak that Boston fans will hope indicates a change in the team's fortune after a rather unlucky first half.
Rubby De La Rosa continued his great rookie season with a seven inning outing where he just allowed one run. De La Rosa allowed just five hits, but did walk four Royals in the win. And he struck out two in an 104-pitch effort.
De La Rosa was able to earn that win because Mike Napoli homered in the sixth to give Boston the 2-1 lead that eventually stood the test of three innings to prevail as the final score. Napoli's blast over the Green Monster came off of Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy and broke a 1-1 tie.
The Red Sox were only able to tie the game previously on an unearned run in the fourth. Shane Victorino, who was activated off the Disabled List before the game, bounced a ball to shortstop and hustled down the line to induce an Alcides Escobar error. Victorino was a welcome sight back in Boston's lineup. The outfielder has played in just 22 games in an injury-ravaged season after playing through so much pain last year.
The man who took Jacoby Ellsbury's job from last year also had himself a ballgame on Saturday. Jackie Bradley Jr. recorded his 11th assist of the season and sixth double play when he caught a line drive and doubled Jarrod Dyson off of first base. He also nearly threw Dyson out at the plate on a sacrifice fly that did end up giving Kansas City its only run on the evening. Bradley's six double plays leads the Major's.
Boston looks to continue its run with a sweep of Kansas City on Sunday. For the Red Sox, it would be their first sweep since a mid-June broom job of the Minnesota Twins.