Now the Red Sox hope to continue to get back on track when the teams open a three-game series Friday at Fenway Park.
Boston’s three straight losses in Kansas City Aug. 8-10 capped a five-game losing streak which started a 10-22 stretch. That dismal play has dropped the Red Sox, who led the AL East at the start of August, to 5 1/2 games behind Minnesota and the Chicago White Sox for the AL wild-card lead and nine games in back of the New York Yankees in the division.
With catcher Jason Varitek, right fielder Trot Nixon and shortstop Alex Gonzalez all back from injuries, the Red Sox (75-65) took two of three games from the Chicago White Sox this week. Boston mustered just four hits in the finale, though, losing 8-1 on Wednesday.
Center fielder Coco Crisp had three of those hits, including a solo homer.
“It was still good to win a series, and ultimately that’s the goal,” said Crisp, who is 6-for-11 over his last three games. “If you pull off the sweep, that’s even better, icing on the cake. We won a series, so we’ll just try to do that from here on out and take it day-to-day.”
To keep winning series the Red Sox will need to jump start their offense, which has scored three or fewer runs in six straight games and 13 of the last 14.
Kevin Jarvis (0-1, 3.60 ERA) will make his second start for the Red Sox since being acquired from Arizona Aug. 31. The right-hander allowed three runs— two earned—and seven hits over five innings in his Red Sox debut on Saturday, a 5-1 loss to Toronto.
The 37-year-old journeyman, who is pitching for his 10th major league team in a 13-year career, lost his only career start against the Royals, 2-1 on Aug. 16, 1997, when he was with Detroit.
Jarvis will face a Kansas City (52-89) team that didn’t record a hit until the seventh inning on Wednesday in an 8-3 loss to the Yankees. The Royals, owners of the worst record in the majors, had won their previous two series against Minnesota and the White Sox before dropping two of three to New York.
Kansas City will give the ball to Odalis Perez (1-3, 5.85), who is trying to avoid losing his third straight start. The left-hander allowed five runs and a season high-tying 11 hits over seven innings in a 5-3 loss to the White Sox on Saturday. He walked one and struck out six, matching a season high.
“He deserved better than that,” Royals manager Buddy Bell said. “I thought he was outstanding. We had some balls in the outfield that were either bloopers, bounced over our heads or bounced in front of us.”
Perez, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 25, is 0-1 with a 3.46 ERA in two career starts versus the Red Sox, but hasn’t faced them since 2004.
Boston has won 11 of the last 12 meetings with the Royals at Fenway Park.