Johnny Gomes of Red Sox honors Boston Marathon victims with bats
Two fans high-five after the announcer invited the crowd to turn to a neighbor and "high five in the fifth" during the fifth inning of the first game of a baseball doubleheader between the Boston Red Sox and the Kansas City Royals in Boston, Sunday, April 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) Purchase photo reprints »
A group of first responders to the Boston Marathon bombings hug on the dugout as the crowd applauds during a tribute in the fifth inning of the first game of a baseball doubleheader between the Boston Red Sox and the Kansas City Royals in Boston, Sunday, April 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) Purchase photo reprints »
Boston Red Sox's Ryan Dempster walks off the field after giving up three runs in the fourth inning of the first game of a baseball doubleheader against the Kansas City Royals in Boston, Sunday, April 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) Purchase photo reprints »
Boston Red Sox's David Ortiz, right, follows through on an RBI-single in front of Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez, center, in the first inning of the first game of a baseball doubleheader in Boston, Sunday, April 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) Purchase photo reprints »
Kansas City Royals' Jeff Francoeur (21) and Lorenzo Cain celebrate their 4-2 win against the Boston Red Sox in the first game of a baseball doubleheader in Boston, Sunday, April 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) Purchase photo reprints »
BOSTON (AP) — The Red Sox did very little at the plate in the opener of a split doubleheader Sunday. Jonny Gomes certainly did something a lot more in his first two at-bats.
With an idea created and developed by his agent, Gomes went to the plate his first two at-bats and alternated one of two specially made bats with the words “Boston Strong” and the full names of the four victims of the Boston Marathon bombings and their aftermath. Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi, and Martin Richard were killed in the explosions Monday and MIT police officer Sean Collier was shot to death on Thursday.
“It wasn’t me. It was my agent,” Gomes said, standing at his locker with the bats leaning against his stall after Boston’s 4-2 loss in the first game against Kansas City . “He asked me if I was able to pull it off, would I be able to do it. He made it happen.
“Two of them,” he said. “First at-bat, second at-bat. I plan on auctioning them off.”
Gomes popped to short and grounded out to shortstop in the at-bats. His agent is Dan Lozano.
Ervin Santana pitched seven strong innings and the Royals ended Boston’s seven-game winning streak with the win.
Kansas City scored three runs in the fourth with Salvador Perez’s two-run single breaking a 2-2 tie against Ryan Dempster (0-2).
The Red Sox loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth against Bruce Chen and Aaron Crow, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia grounded out to Crow. Greg Holland pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save in five opportunities.
“The difference in the game was Perez on the 1-1 slider for two runs as opposed to the eighth inning where we had the bases loaded and had a chance to create some damage on our own part,” Boston manager John Farrell said.
Dempster gave up the two runs after striking out two batters.
“I just didn’t make a good enough pitch. I’ve got to make a better pitch there,” Dempster said. “I had an open base. I just expanded the strikezone a little bit. I just didn’t put it far enough out and gave him something good to hit.”
The nightcap was scheduled after Friday night’s game was postponed because of the manhunt for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.
Santana (2-1) allowed two runs on six hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. It was the third straight start in which he gave up two runs or less.
The atmosphere at Fenway Park was more like a typical baseball game following the emotional pregame ceremony when the Red Sox returned to action Saturday.
Still, there were some signs that all was not the same.
The American flag in left-center field remained at half-staff, Red Sox players wore a “B STRONG” patch on their jerseys and a fan held a white sheet with the words “Veterans Luv Sox” on it while “God Bless America” was sung during the seventh-inning stretch.
The Royals took a 1-0 lead in the first on Alcides Escobar’s second homer of the season. It didn’t last long as the Red Sox scored twice in the bottom of the first when Daniel Nava and Dustin Pedroia singled, David Ortiz followed with an RBI single and Mike Napoli gave Boston a 2-1 lead with a run-scoring groundout.
After two hitless innings, Kansas City took a 4-2 lead in the fourth. Singles by Billy Butler and Eric Hosmer and an RBI-double by Lorenzo Cain tied the game with no outs. The threat started to fizzle when Dempster struck out the next two batters. But then Perez lined a single over the head of shortstop Stephen Drew, driving in two runs.
That ended a season-opening streak of 16 games by Red Sox starters of allowing three runs or less, tying an AL record achieved by the Oakland Athletics in 1978 and 1981.
Notes: Red Sox RF Shane Victorino missed his first game of the season after leaving Saturday’s 4-3 win over the Royals with back spasms. ... Pedroia has reached base in all 17 games. “Much improved, but not at a point where we’re going to keep running him out there,” Farrell said after the opener. ... Jacoby Ellsbury has hit in 10 straight games. ... Cain had hits in seven straight at bats before grounding out on the first then getting his double in the fourth. ... The Royals recalled LHP Will Smith from Triple-A Omaha. ... Felix Doubront (1-0) pitches for the Red Sox against A.J. Griffin (2-0) in the opener of a three-game series with the Oakland Athletics on Monday night at Fenway. ... Kansas City is off Monday before starting a three-game series at Detroit on Tuesday night with Wade Davis (2-0) pitching for the Royals against Max Scherzer (1-0).