9th-inning Pratto homer gives Royals 5-4 win over Red Sox

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Rookie Nick Pratto hit a game-ending home run in the ninth inning, giving the Kansas City Royals a 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night.

Pratto threw a two-out, 3-2 change from Garrett Whitlock (2-2) about 424 feet from center field for his second career home run and first at Kauffman Stadium.

“It was like any other at bat where I came up with a plan and tried to execute it,” Pratto said. “Throughout the game he was throwing a lot around the edges, so I felt like I was hanging on and not chasing. It was a situation where I felt like I had executed.

Whitlock, who retired all eight batters he faced before Pratto, was less measured in his assessment of the home run.

“He pulled it off,” Whitlock said. “I’m pissed, obviously not at all of you, nobody but me and the guy had a fucking good swing, but it was a terrible throw from me.”

The Royals started and finished the game with home runs for the second time in team history – the first was July 3, 1973. MJ Melendez hit his second home run of the series, a 434-foot drive to the right field for his 12th longball this season.

“It’s very special when they have a group of friends around,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “It’s just a unique situation where you have so many guys coming together who are pulling for each other and helping each other get here.”

Kyle Isbel also homered for Kansas City.

Bobby Dalbec had a two-run drive for Boston in the fourth inning and Alex Verdugo went deep in the sixth to tie the game at 4-4.

“We put together some good players at bat, especially late in the game,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “It was a good effort, but we didn’t finish the game.”

Dylan Coleman (3-1) retired the Red Sox in the ninth order.

Boston’s JD Martinez doubled in the second inning and scored when Christian Arroyo hit a field error by shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. Kansas City has committed 27 errors in its last 32 games, the most of any team during this period.

Witt hit a two-run single in the third to give the Royals a 3-1 lead.

MIRROR PICTURES

Both starting pitchers had nearly identical numbers. Boston’s Nathan Eovaldi and Kansas City’s Daniel Lynch each worked six innings and each allowed four runs on seven hits, including two home runs, without walking any. Eovaldi struck out seven to six for Lynch.

NEXT

Boston sends RHP Kutter Crawford (3-3, 3.86 ERA) to the mound on Sunday as they look to split the four-game series. RHP Brad Keller (5-12, 4.61), who allowed a career-high eight points against the White Sox on Tuesday, starts for the Royals.

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