KANSAS CITY — Royals right-hander Jason Hammel’s recent struggles continued in a big way on Friday night.
Hammel served up a leadoff home run to Mookie Betts, and it didn’t get any better after that as the Red Sox pounded him for eight runs before he exited after two innings in the 10-5 loss at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals lost their seventh straight and have dropped 25 of 29.
Hammel gave up four runs in the first, then he was tagged for four more in the second on two-run home runs by J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts. Hammel surrendered nine hits and eight runs overall, and his ERA ballooned to 6.16.
Hammel spent considerable time postgame searching through the video for answers.
“We’re trying to figure it out,” Hammel said. “It’s probably more [about] effort. I’m throwing more angry balls than pitches. I’ve become more of a thrower than a pitcher due to frustration. It’s a tough lineup, and if you miss, they make you pay. Had a great game plan, but didn’t execute. Not even close.
“It’s a battle sometimes. The game doesn’t take it easy on you. There’s no pity. No one is going to feel bad for you. … I’m bashing my head trying to figure out what’s wrong. Sometimes you just have to back off a little.”
Royals manager Ned Yost was asked if he was more willing to stick with veterans going through such struggles.
“Well, guys that have track records, yeah,” Yost said. “But it gets to a point …”
“It just wasn’t his night. He just didn’t have anything going for him.”
Right-hander Burch Smith relieved Hammel and continued his recent dominance. Smith threw four more scoreless innings, pushing his streak to 10 straight.
“I think I’m just trying to stay ahead and throw strikes,” Smith said. “When you fall behind guys it’s not going to be easy getting guys out. I’m just following [catcher Salvador Perez]. He had a good game plan … and I’m pretty pleased with my command.”
Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale was dominant, giving up one run and five hits while striking out 12 through six innings.
The Royals nicked Sale for a run in the second when Jorge Bonifacio doubled and Alcides Escobar singled him in. Mike Moustakas belted his 17th homer of the season, a two-run shot in the eighth.