KANSAS CITY — As the Royals did on Saturday night, they took an early lead Sunday.
And as the Royals also did Saturday night, they gave it back. Kansas City surrendered a pair of leads before falling to the Red Sox, 7-4, at Kauffman Stadium as the Red Sox completed a three-game sweep. Whit Merrifield had the first five-hit game of his career for the Royals.
“He’s been our most consistent player offensively the whole season,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He had a great day again today. He’s been a catalyst for us.”
“Tough day for us as a team,” Merrifield added, “but glad I could contribute.”
Merrifield has overcome a relatively slow start to this season and now is hitting .303.
“Like I said at the beginning of the year, it’s the course of the season — sometimes you don’t feel great and it just so happened that was the beginning of my season,” Merrifield said. “I’m feeling good right now, but there will be times again where I don’t feel great. But the key is to manage those times and that’s how you put together a good season.”
The Royals now have lost nine straight and 27 of 31. They did, though, get a glimpse of a potential piece of their future.
Rookie right-hander Heath Fillmyer made his first Major League start and certainly pitched to contact. He gave up eight hits over 4 1/3 innings and allowed four runs (three earned) while walking three and striking out none. He did induce three of the Royals’ four ground-ball double plays in the game.
“I felt in control other than a couple of pitches that got away from me where I tried to do too much,” Fillmyer said. “Other than that, I felt pretty good. You got guys one through nine [in Boston’s lineup] who are all great hitters and that’s why they’re in the position they’re in. You just try to execute pitches the best you can. Try to stay within yourself best you can.
“I think I learned a lot from this moving forward. Hopefully next time I’ll learn and give Ned a little bit more.”
The Royals showed life offensively early. Jorge Bonifacio ripped a two-run double in the third. Adalberto Mondesi came through with a big two-out RBI single in the fourth.