KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Chris Sale tossed a three-hitter for his third career shutout, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Rafael Devers drove in three runs apiece, and the Boston Red Sox trounced the woeful Kansas City Royals 8-0 on Wednesday night.
Sale’s dominant performance was summed up by the eighth inning, when the seven-time All-Star struck out the side on nine pitches — his second immaculate inning of the year. The lanky left-hander also accomplished the rare feat on May 8 against Baltimore.
Sale (2-7) has rebounded from a dismal April to put together a series of solid starts. He finished with 12 strikeouts and no walks, his seventh double-digit strikeout game of the season.
Bradley hit a three-run double during a four-run fifth that broke open the game, and Devers tacked on his ninth homer after a pair of RBIs earlier in the night.
That sent the Red Sox to their fifth straight win at Kauffman Stadium dating to last season. They also have won three in a row overall, with the offense pounding out eight runs in each game.
Boston jumped ahead against Jakob Junis (4-6) with two runs in the first. But the young right-hander settled down for a while, stranding runners at the corners in the second and another in the fourth.
Andrew Benintendi’s leadoff double in the fifth sparked the Red Sox onslaught.
By the time they loaded the bases later in the inning, and Bradley proceeded to empty them, Junis was headed for the showers and Boston was headed for another easy win.
Junis allowed six runs on eight hits and three walks over 4 2/3 innings. He struck out five.
It was the fifth straight loss for Kansas City, which fell to 19-42 — the second-worst start through that many games in club history. Twenty-three defeats have come in games the Royals at one point led, including the series opener against Boston on Tuesday night.
STATS AND STREAKS
The Red Sox have homered in 22 of their last 25 games. … Sale was making his 300th big league appearance. He also won his fifth straight in Kansas City. … Benintendi and Brock Holt each had three hits. Holt also drove in a run. … Junis has allowed first-inning runs in eight of his last 13 starts.
The Red Sox concluded the first-year player draft with a couple of notable picks, including 1B Ryan Berardino in the 34th round. His grandfathers are longtime minor league manager Dick Berardino and former Boston outfielder Dwight Evans.
The Royals went heavy on college players in the draft. Among those chosen on Day 3 was UC Irvine right-hander Jonah DiPoto, the son of Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto, and Indiana State third baseman Jake Means, whose brother John pitched for Baltimore on Wednesday night.
Red Sox: 1B Mitch Moreland (lower back) will likely be activated for Friday night’s series opener at Tampa Bay, manager Alex Cora said. Moreland has been hitting off a tee the past couple of days.
The Red Sox will go with Ryan Weber (1-1, 4.50 ERA) as an opener with Michael Shawaryn backing him up in Thursday’s series finale. The Royals will counter with Danny Duffy (3-2, 4.05).
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