- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 18, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Steven Wright did everything Boston manager John Farrell asked of him except earn a win.

The knuckleballer kept the Kansas City Royals off balance while allowing just five hits in a complete game. But a two-run homer by Eric Hosmer and a timely sacrifice fly by Alcides Escobar doomed Wright and the Red Sox to a 3-2 loss in the opener of their split-doubleheader.

“He was outstanding,” Farrell said. “This is an aggressive-swinging team. He was in the strike zone early in the count. So that combination is going to give him a chance to get some early quick outs.”

As a result, Wright went the distance and saved his bullpen for the nightcap.

“Every pitcher’s goal is go deep into the game,” he said. “I think it was more crucial to do that today, knowing we’ve got a doubleheader. It stinks we got the loss.”

Ian Kennedy allowed two runs on six hits and a walk over 5 2/3 innings for Kansas City, striking out nine. Brian Flynn earned his first career win with a strikeout, and Luke Hochevar struck out the next three, before Kelvin Herrera got some help from his defense to dodge some trouble in the eighth.

After allowing back-to-back singles, right-fielder Jarrod Dyson threw out Xander Bogaerts trying to reach third base, wiping out the tying run. Travis Shaw proceeded to fly out to end the inning.

Wade Davis worked around a single in ninth for his ninth save.

“We kept coming at guys. We kept digging,” Farrell said. “We kept fighting, trying to create some opportunities, right through the last pitch.”

Wright (3-4) used his knuckleball masterfully to set down 10 straight at one point, but the two extra-base hits - Dyson’s triple and Hosmer’s homer - came back to haunt him.

“He had really good stuff,” the Royals’ Lorenzo Cain said.

Chris Young homered in the fifth for the Red Sox. David Ortiz drove in their other run.

“We had some key opportunities in the fourth and the fifth and once again in the eighth inning,” Farrell said. “Credit their defense. They come up with some huge plays.”

The doubleheader, caused by a rainout of Monday night’s series opener, came after Kansas City won 8-4 on Tuesday night. Left-hander David Price will try to salvage a win for Boston from the three-game series when he starts against right-hander Edinson Volquez in the nightcap.

The Red Sox had sailed into the series after averaging 10.4 runs on their seven-game homestand. But the cold, hard rain that fell Monday night and into Tuesday apparently cooled off their offense.

Meanwhile, the Royals (20-19) are starting to heat up after a prolonged cold spell. The reigning World Series champions nudged back over .500 with their third straight win and fourth in five games.

“Tremendous defense today,” Yost said. “We’re starting to capitalize on situations a little more. Hos has been really hot for us. It’s good to see us starting to turn the corner.”


Red Sox: RHP Carson Smith (right flexor strain) may return to the disabled list, manager John Farrell said. Smith is still feeling forearm pain since returning from the DL on May 3.

Royals: RHP Chris Young (right forearm strain) is throwing from 60 feet but has yet to pitch from the mound. … 3B Mike Moustakas (left thumb fracture) was the DH and went 2 for 4 with an RBI in his first rehab game Wednesday at Double-A Northwest Arkansas. He could rejoin the Royals this weekend in Chicago.


After the nightcap, Boston heads home to begin a three-game set against Cleveland and the Royals visit the White Sox for three games. Both of those series begin Friday night.

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