Boston slugger David Ortiz left the ballpark early due to what Red Sox manager John Farrell called a family emergency.
“He’s fine. He got called away from this game,” Farrell said. “There was a family emergency that he had to attend to and he jumped on a flight late this afternoon. He should catch up with us in Pittsburgh.”
Even without him, Boston was able to rally past Kansas City for an 8-4 victory on Sunday as Daniel Nava hit a grand slam and Xander Bogaerts added a three-run shot.
The loss continued the Royals slide. When asked if his club could afford to lose three of four to a last-place club, Kansas City manager Ned Yost succinctly replied, “No, no, no.”
Yost also abruptly ended his post-game media session with that answer.
The Royals, who blew a four-lead lead, fell 1 1-2 games behind Detroit, which beat Cleveland, in the AL Central. Kansas City is in the thick of the wild-card race.
The Red Sox chased Jason Vargas (11-9) with one out in the sixth after Mookie Betts and Bogaerts singled. Reliever Aaron Crow walked Yoenis Cespedes to load the bases and struck out Allen Craig.
Nava hit Crow’s next pitch into the Red Sox bullpen for his second career grand slam and a 7-4 lead.
“Do I think this is going to cause us to fade? No,” Vargas said. “But we need to play better ball that’s for sure because we’re running out of games.”
Bogaerts homered in the third and got three hits. He also had a sacrifice fly and drove in four runs, giving him 11 RBIs in his past 15 games.
Joe Kelly (3-2) gave up five consecutive hits and four runs in the second, but nothing else in six innings. The Royals loaded the bases in the ninth off Edward Mujica, but Lorenzo Cain struck out looking to end the game.
Eric Hosmer hit a three-run homer in the second, and Omar Infante’s grounder scored another run in the inning.
“You never expect to lose three out of four especially this late in the season when time is winding down,” Hosmer said. “It’s nothing this team hasn’t been through before. We can bounce back from this. There’s still time left.”
Omaha, the Royals ‘Triple-A affiliate, won the Pacific Coast League championship Sunday with Aaron Brooks throwing a two-hit shutout against Reno. Pawtucket, the Red Sox ‘Triple-A farm club, beat Durham in a best-of-five series to take the International League championship. The two will meet Tuesday in Charlotte for the Triple-A championship.
Red Sox: INF-OF Brock Holt (concussion) remains sidelined and is having vision problems.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy (sore shoulder) made 20 throws with no discomfort in a bullpen session. Manager Ned Yost said they would check on how Duffy feels Monday and make a decision on whether he will start Tuesday against the White Sox. … DH Josh Willingham (groin strain) has not played since Thursday.
Red Sox: After an off-day Monday, the 10-game trip continues Tuesday with the first of three games at Pittsburgh, another playoff-contending club. Rookie right-hander Anthony Ranaudo will start the series opener.
Royals: Staff ace James Shields, who has a career-high 18 1-3 inning scoreless streak, will start the series opener against the visiting White Sox. Shields hasn’t done well against Chicago SS Alexei Ramirez, who has a .412 batting average with two home runs in 51 at-bats against him.