KANSAS CITY, Mo. -AP- Whit Merrifield drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning, Eric Hosmer hit a two-run homer and the Kansas City Royals beat the Boston Red Sox 4-2 on Monday night for their eighth win in nine games.
Jason Hammel (4-6) pitched seven sharp innings before turning it over to Mike Minor, who loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth. No. 9 hitter Christian Vazquez proceeded to send a slow bounder toward third base that Cheslor Cuthbert fielded cleanly and fired to first to end the threat.
 
 
Merrifield, Hammel help Royals to 4-2 victory over Red Sox
 
 
 
Kelvin Herrera worked around Andrew Benintendi's triple in the ninth for his 16th save.
Red Sox reliever Blaine Boyer (0-1), who wriggled out of a jam in the sixth, gave up Merrifield's bouncing RBI single in the seventh. Boyer was lifted after Lorenzo Cain added an insurance run with a single, the second straight night Boston's stingy bullpen has allowed a pair of runs.
Red Sox relievers had thrown 26 straight scoreless innings before the slump.
Hammel scattered seven hits without a walk, stranding seven along the way, and the only damage against him came in the fourth inning. That's when he gave up a leadoff single to Hanley Ramirez, and hot-hitting Jackie Bradley Jr. sent a 1-0 pitch over the bullpen in right field for a two-run homer that tied the game.
It was the third straight start in which Hammel pitched into the seventh.
Boston right-hander Hector Velazquez was nearly as good as Hammel in his second career start, carefully navigating a bunch of baserunners during the first two innings. Hosmer finally dinged him in the third with an estimated 446-foot shot to center, a line drive that cleared the seats and landed in the fountains.
Velazquez turned it over to his faltering bullpen after giving up five hits in 5 1/3 innings.
 

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