Red Sox

Red Sox bullpen falters in 5-3 loss to Royals

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Red Sox bullpen falters in 5-3 loss to Royals

BOSTON -- Knowing they've completely recovered from their rough first two months of the season, the Kansas City Royals are having a lot of fun.

Alex Gordon's two-run triple capped a four-run eighth inning, and the Royals rallied for a 5-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Sunday, a day after their season-high, nine-game winning streak was snapped.

Alcides Escobar added a two-run single in the eighth and drove in three runs for the Royals, who lost in extra innings on Saturday after taking the series opener.

"The vibes good right now," winning pitcher Jason Hammel said. "The vibes real good."

The Royals ended May in last in the AL Central - eight games under .500. They've taken off and now trail first-place Cleveland by two games after the Indians lost 3-1 to the White Sox in Chicago.

A few cheers went up in the clubhouse when the White Sox won.

Rookie Rafael Devers hit a solo homer for Boston and starter Drew Pomeranz gave up one run on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings in his 100th career start.

Hammel (5-8) allowed three runs on seven hits to end a six-start winless streak. His last victory also came against the Red Sox, at home on June 19.

Kelvin Herrera got the final three outs for his 23rd save, getting Mookie Betts to fly out with the bases loaded.

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts booted Lorenzo Cain's grounder for an error to open the eighth and Eric Hosmer had a hard single off the right hand and body of Matt Barnes (6-3). Salvador Perez then loaded the bases with a single.

"It opens the door, and then all of a sudden there's life instead of the potential of an out, nobody on, against a team that is aggressive, playing with a lot of momentum," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of the error.

Escobar followed with his game-tying single before Gordon greeted reliever Robby Scott with his hit that rolled into the left-center gap and bounced off the edge of the bullpen wall in right-center, making it 5-3.

"It's been an up and down season. Early-on everybody was talking about getting rid of all these players and what not, and then we just kind of took it upon ourselves to play better," Gordon said. "It's been a heck of a year and we like where we're at right now."

Before the game, the Royals acquired outfielder Melky Cabrera from the Chicago White Sox for two minor league pitchers in a bid to bolster their offense.

Gordon entered the day hitting just .201 with five homers and 32 RBIs.

The switch-hitting Cabrera is batting .288 with 13 homers and 56 RBIs.

Boston moved ahead 2-0 in the second on consecutive RBI singles by Mitch Moreland and Christian Vazquez.

The Royals sliced it to 2-1 on Escobar's double before Devers hit his second career homer, a drive that barely cleared the top of the Green Monster and bounced onto the field.

It was originally called "in play" and a double when he stopped, but overturned by the umpiring crew after a brief review.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: Second baseman Dustin Pedroia missed his second straight with a sore left knee.

ANNIVERSARY

The Red Sox honored their 2007 World Series champion team on the field before the game.

Recently retired slugger David Ortiz was asked if the current club could use his bat for the stretch run.

"Not me, man. I've been doing nothing but slow cycle, bro," he said, laughing. "I sit down and watch the game now and say, `Man, that's hard.' I view the game differently now."

Former lefty reliever Hideki Okajima flew from Japan on Saturday to be a part of the event.

Mike Lowell, the 2007 Series MVP, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to former catcher Jason Varitek.

FUN UNDER THE SUN

Kansas City is 17-7 in its last 24 day games after opening losing 11 of its first 12.

NO EXCUSE

Barnes had a bandage on his right hand after, but credited the Royals.

"I didn't think I made terrible pitches," he said. "I didn't think I was leaving the ball middle and I was getting hit. I thought that they kind of did what hitters are taught to do with pitches away."

UP NEXT

Royals: LHP Danny Duffy (7-6, 3.56 ERA) is slated to start the opener of a three-game series in Baltimore on Monday.

Red Sox: RHP Doug Fister (0-5, 7.46) is in line to start Monday when Boston hosts AL Central-leading Cleveland in the first of three.

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

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MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

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Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.

Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.

Two aces, two different styles - and now another Cy Young Award for each.

The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Kluber's win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.

Scherzer yelled "yes!" when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding - also with expletives - that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.

Just a little different than the pitcher they call "Klubot." Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn't react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.

Not that he wasn't thrilled.

"Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one," Kluber said.

Scherzer's win moves him into rare company. He's the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

"That's why I'm drinking a lot of champagne tonight," Scherzer said.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.

"This one is special," he said. "When you start talking about winning three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point."

Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington's training staff was high on his thank-you list.

"Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field," he said. "I'm very thankful for all their hard work."

Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.

Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.

The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota's Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games - nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per baseball-reference.com.

Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.

Scherzer said he couldn't even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.

"That will eat at me this whole offseason," he said.

Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.

The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.

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