The Royals look to sweep the Red Sox at Fenway Park for the first time since 1997 when the teams conclude their three-game series on Sunday.
Kansas City defeated Boston 10-4 in 12 innings on Saturday, running its winning streak over the Red Sox to five games. The Royals (54-89) haven’t won six straight from Boston since Aug. 1, 1996-July 31, 1997
Included in that run was a two-game sweep at Fenway Park on May 5-6, 1997, the last time Kansas City swept the Red Sox at home.
Boston (75-67) has lost 19 of 26 to fall 7 1/2 games behind Minnesota in the AL wild card race. Kansas City, though, will not take the Red Sox lightly.
“The Sox are still a powerhouse, one of the most feared teams in baseball,” designated hitter Mike Sweeney said. “To beat them two straight here is a huge feat. I can’t ever remember playing as well as we have against the Red Sox.”
Jeff Keppinger hit a three-run homer to break a 4-4 tie and the Royals added three more runs in the 12th to secure their third victory in four games.
“I was looking for something up that I could get out of the infield,” Keppinger said. “I was hoping for a sacrifice fly and it turned out to be a lot better.”
It was Keppinger’s first homer since Sept. 10, 2004, when he was with the New York Mets.
Mark Redman (9-8, 5.26 ERA), who was originally scheduled to start Saturday, takes the mound for the Royals in the finale. Manager Buddy Bell said he wanted to break up his left-handed and right-handed starters, which is why Luke Hudson started Saturday’s win.
Redman has beaten two teams in the wild card hunt in his last two outings. He threw a five-hitter to beat Minnesota 2-0 on Aug. 29, then allowed one run and four hits in seven innings of a 7-3 win over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.
Redman is 0-1 with a 3.65 ERA in two starts against Boston this season and 1-8 with an 8.00 ERA in 11 career games against the Red Sox. His only victory came on July 5, 2002 while with Detroit, and he’s lost four straight decisions since then.
Boston answers with Julian Tavarez (2-4, 4.72) as he makes his third start since joining the rotation. He gave up two runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings against the White Sox on Monday, a game Boston won 3-2 in 10 innings.
“I gave a chance to my team,” Tavarez said. “That was the one thing I was looking for—give a chance to our team to score some runs and win this game.”
Tavarez, who’s made 52 relief appearances this season, hasn’t picked up a victory since July 29 against the Los Angeles Angels.
He retired one Kansas City batter on Aug. 8, his only appearance this season against the Royals. He is 2-1 with a 5.95 ERA in 10 career games, including three starts, against Kansas City.
His last start against the Royals came on July 15, 1996, when he earned his only loss, allowing five runs and eight hits in 3 2-3 innings of a 6-3 defeat. Tavarez was with Cleveland at the time.