BOSTON — Rubby De La Rosa pitched seven sharp innings and Mike Napoli homered to lead the surging Boston Red Sox to a 2-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night.
Napoli, Boston’s first baseman, had two hits and a walk and scored two runs. He hit a solo home run in the sixth inning that gave the Red Sox the lead for good en route to their sixth win in seven games.
While they have lost 20 one-run games this season, tied with the New York Mets and now the Royals for the most in baseball, the Red Sox (45-52) are growing accustomed to eking out narrow victories at home. Boston’s last eight wins at Fenway Park each have come by a single run, including Friday when the Sox stormed back from a three-run deficit to win 5-4.
Meanwhile, the Royals (48-48) are headed in the opposite direction, falling to 10-20 in one-run games one year after leading the American League with 31 such victories.
Kansas City has lost five of its last six games and eight of 11.
De La Rosa (3-2) gave up one run on five hits, walking four and striking out two. The rookie right-hander allowed 10 baserunners through six innings, but he stranded seven while pitching out of two-on jams in the second and sixth.
Andrew Miller tossed a scoreless eighth and Koji Uehara earned his 20th save with a perfect ninth.
Kansas City’s Danny Duffy (5-10) yielded two runs (one earned) and six hits over 6 2/3 innings. The left-hander walked three and struck out two in losing for the fifth time in six starts.
The Royals took the lead in the third inning when center fielder Jarrod Dyson tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by second baseman Omar Infante.
The Red Sox tied it 1-1 in the fourth inning when Napoli singled, moved to second on a walk to left fielder Jonny Gomes and scored when right fielder Shane Victorino’s sharp grounder scooted through the legs of shortstop Alcides Escobar.
Napoli put the Red Sox in front 2-1 in the sixth inning with his 11th homer of the season, crushing a 3-1 offering from Duffy over the Green Monster in left field.
NOTES: The Red Sox on Saturday activated RF Shane Victorino from the disabled list and optioned OF Mookie Betts to Triple-A Pawtucket. Victorino, playing Saturday for the first time since May 23, had been limited to 21 games this season because of hamstring and back injuries. … Royals CF Lorenzo Cain, mired in an 0-for-19 slump, got the night off and was replaced by Jarrod Dyson, who opened the game with a walk but was doubled up at first base on a line drive and a perfect throw from CF Jackie Bradley Jr. … Boston RHP Rubby De La Rosa had allowed three earned runs in three starts at Fenway Park before Saturday, as opposed to nine earned runs in three road starts. … Royals 1B Eric Hosmer extended his career-best hitting streak to 15 games with a single in the first inning. … Kansas City RHP Yordano Ventura (7-7, 3.22 ERA) will oppose Boston LHP Jon Lester (9-7, 2.65) in the finale of the three-game series Sunday.