There was plenty of fight in the Kansas City Royals during their last outing, but it probably wasn’t the type of display the team was expecting.
The surging Royals may be short-handed on Monday, when they open three-game series against the Boston Red Sox at Kauffman Stadium.
Kansas City (52-60) picked up its sixth victory in seven games on Sunday with a 14-3 rout of the Chicago White Sox. After the Royals were limited to six hits in the series-opening loss, they pounded out a season-high 19—their highest since totaling 21 on July 9, 2005—in each of the next two contests.
But Sunday’s triumph was marred by five ejections and a benches-clearing altercation between the division rivals. Royals catcher Miguel Olivo touched off the fight in the fifth inning, when he charged the mound after he was struck by a pitch from White Sox reliever D.J. Carrasco.
Olivo instead punched White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who tried to restrain him, and was tossed along with Carrasco and Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen.
Two innings later, winning pitcher Zack Greinke was ejected for hitting the White Sox’s Nick Swisher with a pitch after both dugouts had been warned, and Royals manager Trey Hillman was automatically ejected.
“In that situation, I had to believe he was trying to hit me even with the bases loaded,” said Olivo, who likely will face a suspension. “We were leading by six runs. They come inside hard three times. That is the team that has hit me three times already. It seemed so obvious to me.”
The Royals hope any fallout from the melee won’t affect their upcoming series versus Boston (64-48), which swept a four-game series at Kauffman Stadium from May 19-22 to trigger Kansas City’s season-worst 12-game losing streak.
The Red Sox wrapped up their 4-5 nine-game homestand with a 5-2 victory on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep of Oakland. Jed Lowrie and Coco Crisp each drove in two runs, while newly acquired outfielder Jason Bay went 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
“We wanted to set a tone coming into the new month and I think we did that,” Lowrie said. “The team’s been revived.”
Boston, which trails AL East-leading Tampa Bay by three games, opens a seven-game road trip behind Clay Buchholz (2-6, 5.94 ERA), who tries for his first victory in seven starts.
The right-hander, who is 0-4 with an 8.49 ERA during his winless stretch, had another tough outing Tuesday when he yielded five earned runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-2 home loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
Buchholz hopes to bounce back from that outing as he makes his first career start versus the Royals, who counter with Gil Meche (9-9, 4.22) as he seeks to win four straight starts for the first time since May 16-June 4, 2003, while playing for Seattle.
The Royals have won eight of the right-hander’s last nine starts, and he is 6-1 with a 2.78 ERA in that span. Meche limited Oakland to two runs while fanning eight over seven innings in 5-2 road victory on Tuesday.
“My fastball had a lot of life and I made a lot of good pitches,” he said after winning his third consecutive outing.
To make it four in a row, Meche will have to exhibit similar dominance versus the Red Sox. He is 4-2 with a 3.69 ERA in eight lifetime starts against them, but suffered a tough loss in Boston on May 20 after he gave up two runs and struck out eight over seven innings of a 2-1 defeat.