BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox, who have had trouble hitting home runs all season long, broke out the long ball at the right time on Friday night.
Rookie third baseman Xander Bogaerts and pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes both hammered two-run homers into the center-field bleachers in the sixth inning as Boston charged from behind for a 5-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
The win was the fifth in the last six games for the Red Sox. The Royals have lost four of their last five, five of seven and seven of 10.
Bogaerts, batting .116 in his last 32 games coming in, hit his first homer in 90 at-bats with one out against right-hander James Shields. Later in the inning, with Scott Downs (0-3) on in relief, Gomes batted for center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and connected for his and the team’s second pinch-homer of the season.
Gomes hit his ninth career pinch-homer and his sixth with the Red Sox, moving him into second place on the club’s all-time list. Ted Williams leads with seven.
The homers made a winner of Boston starter Clay Buchholz (5-5), who struggled through six innings (10 hits). Four relievers finished up. Junichi Tazawa stranded the tying run at third base in the eighth and Koji Uehara worked a one-hit ninth for his 19th save — leaving the tying run at second.
Shields, who came in 2-9 with a 5.48 ERA lifetime at Fenway Park, was charged with four runs (three earned) in 5 2/3 innings.
Outfielder Brock Holt drove in the other Boston run with a second-inning single.
First baseman Eric Hosmer extended his hitting streak to 14 games with three hits and two RBIs. Second baseman Omar Infante also had three hits and catcher Salvador Perez added two for the Royals.
Left fielder Alex Gordon returned to the Kansas City lineup after missing four games and the All-Star Game with a sprained right wrist. He went 1-for-4 at the plate and failed to hang on to a shoe-string catch in the sixth inning, setting up Boston’s four-run rally — perhaps diving tentatively to protect the wrist.
After the Bogaerts homer, shortstop Stephen Drew, 6-for-11 lifetime against Shields, reached on a double (his second hit of the game) when center fielder Lorenzo Cain and right fielder Nori Aoki couldn’t get together on the ball in deep right-center.
The Royals struck quickly against Buchholz, who came in with a 4-0 record and a 1.35 ERA in his last four starts against them. The right-hander struck out Cain to open the first inning, but Infante doubled off the wall in left and Hosmer singled off the wall to drive in the first run. Perez lined out hard to left and Hosmer was thrown out stealing by catcher David Ross.
The Red Sox stranded two in the bottom of the inning but tied the game with an unearned run in the second. Bogaerts reached on a throwing error by shortstop Alcides Escobar and rode to third on a single by Drew. Shields almost escaped by getting the next two, but Holt tied the score with a single.
Infante led the fourth inning with an infield hit and Hosmer followed with a shot over first base, with Infante running on the pitch. The ball was fielded by the ball girl, killing it for a double. Perez singled home one run and Gordon made it 3-1 with a single. And despite the Red Sox failing to turn a double play when Perez should have been trapped off third, Buchholz escaped further damage.
Aoki led off the fifth with a single, stole second, took third on Ross’ passed ball and scored on Hosmer’s third hit, a single. Perez then collected his second hit, but Buchholz got Gordon to end the inning.
NOTES: Red Sox RF Shane Victorino, on the disabled list since May 24, was hoping to return to the lineup Friday night but manager John Farrell wanted his player to play nine innings at Triple-A Pawtucket for the second straight night. Meanwhile, 3B Will Middlebrooks, out since breaking a finger May 17, is still rehabbing at Pawtucket but is slated to make the coming road trip with the Red Sox. … Hard-luck LHP Danny Duffy, who has gotten the worst run support of any American League starter, pitches for the Royals against RHP Rubby De La Rosa in the second game of the three-game series Saturday night. … RHP Jason Frasor, acquired by the Royals from the Texas Rangers on Thursday, was in uniform with his new team for the first time; RHP Louis Coleman sent to Triple-A to make room on the 25-man roster. … Geoff Cameron, a defender on the U.S. World Cup soccer team who hails from nearby Attleboro, Mass., threw out the first pitch.
NEW YORK — Jacoby Ellsbury hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning and the New York Yankees ended a five-game home losing streak with a 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night in the opener of a 10-game homestand.
Ellsbury gave the Yankees the lead for good with nobody out in the fifth when he drove a 1-1 pitch from Cincinnati right-hander Mike Leake (7-8) over the right field wall for his seventh home run of the season.
The Yankees improved to 19-23 at home by getting production from their three big offseason additions to the lineup as center fielder Ellsbury, designated hitter Carlos Beltran and catcher Brian McCann were a combined 5-for-12 with four RBIs.
Shortstop Derek Jeter also had two hits, giving him 3,410 for his career, moving him nine behind Carl Yastrzemski for seventh place on the all-time list.
WASHINGTON — Milwaukee starting pitcher Kyle Lohse outdueled Washington’s Stephen Strasburg, and solo home runs from Scooter Gennett and Khris Davis sparked the Brewers to victory.
Lohse (10-4) joined Wily Peralta as Milwaukee’s second 10-game winner thanks to a seven-inning effort in which he scattered 10 hits but walked none and allowed just one run.
The victim of five blown saves this season, Lohse received help from three relievers, including Francisco Rodriguez, who picked up his 28th save despite giving up a ninth-inning home run to Bryce Harper.
Strasburg (7-7) racked up nine strikeouts to boost his NL-leading total to 158.
TORONTO — J.P. Arencibia hit a three-run homer against his former team and Yu Darvish pitched into the seventh inning as Texas snapped an eight-game losing streak by beating Toronto.
Adrian Beltre also homered for the Rangers, and Rougned Odor had three hits, including a double and an RBI triple.
Darvish (9-5) allowed five hits, three walks and one run while equaling his season high with 12 strikeouts.
MIAMI — Left-hander Madison Bumgarner pitched six strong innings, and the San Francisco offense broke out in a win over Miami.
Bumgarner (11-7), an All-Star in each of the past two years, allowed four hits, two walks and one run, striking out seven. His only blemish was a solo homer blasted to center by Giancarlo Stanton, his 22nd home run of the season.
The nine runs were the most the Giants have scored since May 30, when they beat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-4.
ATLANTA — Right-hander Ervin Santana, supported by a string of two-out hits, won for the third time in four starts as Atlanta beat Philadelphia.
Santana (8-6) pitched six innings and allowed four runs, three of them earned, on six hits. He was backed up by two double plays and some timely offensive support.
Nine of Atlanta’s 10 hits came with two outs, and the Braves scored five runs after two were out and no one was on base. The Braves had averaged only 2.9 runs in support of Santana in his previous 17 starts.
The losing pitcher was A.J. Burnett (6-9), who now has a 5-13 career record against the Braves.