Eduardo Nunez belted a pinch-hit, three-run homer to break open a close game in the eighth inning, and the Boston Red Sox went on to beat the Kansas City Royals 8-3 on Tuesday night.
Rafael Devers also drove in a pair of runs for the Red Sox, who began a grueling stretch of 17 games in 16 days by rallying from an early 2-0 hole against Kansas City.
Eduardo Rodriguez (6-3) was stingy over 5 2/3 innings, allowing just six hits while striking out seven. His only mistake came in the second, when Cheslor Cuthbert hit a two-run shot to left.
Glenn Sparkman matched Rodriguez most of the way, but he left a runner on base when he was lifted with one out in the sixth. Scott Barlow (1-2) promptly gave up the lead with a miserable relief outing, and Nunez’s homer off Jake Diekman in the eighth inning was merely the finishing touch.
The Red Sox improved to 9-1 in Rodriguez’s last 10 starts.
Meanwhile, the woebegone Royals lost for an AL-leading 20th time when they had the lead.
Even more frustrating for Kansas City: Sparkman was slicing up Boston’s lineup, allowing just two hits through five innings. But after Mookie Betts’ leadoff double in the sixth, and Andrew Benintendi’s flyout, Sparkman was yanked by manager Ned Yost despite having thrown just 80 pitches.
Barlow entered the game and the spark went out of the Royals.