BOSTON -- The Red Sox’s seven-game winning streak was stopped cold, 4-2, in Game 1 of a day-night doubleheader Sunday against the Kansas City Royals.
Ervin Santana went seven innings while surrendering two earned runs and striking out seven to earn the win before Aaron Crow shimmied out of a two-out, bases-loaded spot in the eighth to preserve the win.
End of another streak -- Sunday was a first for the Red Sox starters this season. In Game No. 17, Ryan Dempster (0-2) became the first Red Sox starter to yield more than three runs. After surrendering a first-pitch home run to Alcides Escobar in the first inning, Dempster settled in to retire the side in order in the second and third. But the Royals tagged Dempster for three runs in the fourth on a Lorenzo Cain double and Salvador Perez’s two-run single to center, lofted over the outstretched glove of shortstop Stephen Drew.
Red Sox starters entered Game 1 of the doubleheader leading the American League in combined record (9-2) and leading the majors with a 2.31 ERA.
Dempster remained winless, going seven innings, while surrendering four earned runs, including his fourth home run of the season.
Papi's afoot -- Designated hitter David Ortiz (3-for-4) collected an RBI in his second straight game since returning from the disabled list with a run-scoring single in the bottom of the first.
The biggest cheer of the day from the 31,483 in attendance came in the sixth as Ortiz put his healed Achilles to the test, legging out a one-out double down the right-field line. Even a visibly slower Ortiz drew no contest going into second as the ball bounded about the right-field wall. He slid safely into second as Jeff Francoeur’s throw was cut off.
Ortiz also drew a rousing cheer while advancing to third on Mike Napoli’s ensuing fly out to right, going into the bag standing. He was left stranded at Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out swinging.
A little too Salty -- Ortiz’s third hit was part of an eight-inning uprising that loaded the bases with two outs.
However, Crow induced a ground out by Saltalamacchia to end the inning, with the Red Sox catcher sending a dribbler back just out in front of the mound. It underscored a rough day at the plate for Saltalamacchia, who was 0-for-4 while leaving four runners in scoring position.
Greg Holland worked a 1-2-3 ninth for the save.
Can't buy a hit -- Drew’s average shrunk to an even .100 on the season after an 0-for-4 performance, with three strikeouts. He has just two hits in his last 21 at-bats in six games.
Drew struck out in the second before putting a charge into a ball in the fourth, forcing Lorenzo Cain to make a catch against the garage door bay in straightaway center. Drew also struck out swinging in the seventh.
The Red Sox's Nos. 5-9 hitters were a combined 1-for-18 on the day.
Meanwhile, Jacoby Ellsbury extended a quiet hitting streak to 10 games. Ellsbury is 13-for-45 during the streak.
In by a hair -- Will Middlebrooks nearly started a triple play in the top of the ninth, starting a 5-4 double play. Perez beat out the attempted around-the-horn trifecta on Dustin Pedroia’s pivot throw to first by less than a half-step.