BOSTON (AP) — Johnny Cueto had his worst start since coming to Kansas City just before the trading deadline, and the Boston Red Sox beat the AL Central-leading Royals 7-2 on Friday night to send them to their second straight loss.
Cueto (2-2) had allowed just six runs in four previous starts for the Royals. He allowed six earned runs and 13 hits on Friday, striking out three before leaving after six innings. The Royals also committed two errors, leading to another run.
Henry Owens made the longest start of his short career, pitching eight innings of four-hit ball. Blake Swihart had four hits and Mookie Betts three for the Red Sox, who tied a season high with their fourth win in a row.
The Royals entered the series against last-place Boston with a 14½-game lead in the division.
A 23-year-old lefty who is one of Boston’s top pitching prospects, Owens (2-1) was making his fourth career start since being called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Aug. 4. He pitched well in his first two outings but gave up seven runs and 10 hits in a loss to Seattle on Sunday.
Owens allowed Kansas City one earned run and four hits and a walk, striking out four in eight innings. He got plenty of support this time — much of it from Swihart
The Red Sox got to Cueto for three runs in the second inning, two in the fourth, and two more in the sixth. Swihart was in the middle of all three rallies, with a double and two singles.
Josh Rutledge hit a two-run homer for Boston.
Royals: 2B Omar Infante returned to the lineup after missing three straight games with back spasms.
Red Sox: RHP Clay Buchholz, who received a plasma-rich platelet injection in his elbow after the All-Star break, has not been cleared to resume throwing, manager Torey Lovullo said.
Royals: RHP Yordano Ventura (7-7) makes his 20th start of the season. Ventura went seven innings in his previous start, allowing two runs and five hits and struck out seven for the Royals in a 4-3 win over the Angels in 10 innings Sunday.
Red Sox: RHP Matt Barnes (3-3) is set to make his second major league start after getting rocked in his first. Barnes allowed six runs over five innings in an 8-2 loss to Cleveland on Monday.