Jon Heasley has strong outing, but Royals lose to Red Sox


Kansas City Royals reliever Scott Barlow reacts after walking in the tying run during the eighth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, at Fenway Park in Boston.


Unlike his previous start, Kansas City Royals rookie right-hander Jonathan Heasley didn’t have to worry about the weather or his grip on the ball. As a result, Heasley held the Boston Red Sox hitters in check for the better part of seven innings.

Heasley, who struggled in a rain-drenched outing against the Tigers in prior outing in KC, bounced back and tossed 6 2/3 scoreless against the Red Sox — the first Royals pitcher to go at least 6 2/3 scoreless in Boston since Kevin Appier on May 5, 1997 — yet the Royals still ended up on the losing side.

Royals relievers Dylan Coleman and Scott Barlow allowed a pair of runs in the eighth inning behind a bevy of walks in a 2-1 loss to the Red Sox in front of an announced 33,181 in the opening game of a three-game series at Fenway Park in Boston.

The Royals (57-88) have now lost the first four games on their road trip.

The Red Sox (70-74) scored the tying and winning runs in the eighth on just one hit. Coleman, who turned 26 on Friday, walked the first two batters of the inning before he got an infield pop-up for the first out of the inning.

Barlow, the team’s closer and most reliable reliever this season, walked a batter, struck out another for the second out and then walked Alex Verdugo with the bases loaded to force in the tying run. The next batter, J.D. Martinez, singled in the eventual winning run.

Both runs were charged to Coleman, who’d held opponents scoreless in 30 of his last 36 outings dating back to June 12. During that span, he’d gone 3-0 with 11 holds and a 1.46 ERA (six earned runs in 37 innings).

Friday night, Royals pitchers gave up just three hits, but they walked eight batters in eight innings in the loss.

On offense, the Royals had eight hits and left six men on base. They were 1 for 5 with runners in scoring position.

Royals rookie MJ Melendez went 1 for 4 with a triple and a run scored, his triple was the lone extra-base hit in the game. Royals catcher Salvador Perez went 1 for 4 and drove in the Royals’ only run.

Heasley allowed just two hits and three walks, and he struck out five. He came one out shy of matching his longest outing of the season. He left the game with the Royals leading 1-0 in the seventh.

Heasley has now allowed three earned runs or fewer in three of his last four starts.

Heasley allowed just one hit and no walks through the first four innings on Friday, but the Red Sox loaded the bases with one out in the fifth courtesy of a leadoff walk and a one-out walk followed by a single.

But Heasley got Red Sox center fielder Keke Hernandez to hit into an inning-ending double play that kept the score 0-0 going into the sixth.

Red Sox starting pitcher Michael Wacha entered the day with a 2.69 ERA in 19 starts this season. He did not pitch against the Royals during their series at Kauffman Stadium on August 4-7.

The veteran right-hander began his career for the St. Louis Cardinals, where he was managed by current Royals manager Mike Matheny from 2013 to 2018.

The Royals stranded runners in scoring position in the third, fourth and fifth innings against Wacha. But Melendez started the sixth with a triple to center field to create the best scoring opportunity of the night, a runner at third with no outs.

Perez lined an RBI single to right field with one out to drive in the game’s first run and record his 67th RBI of the season.

That 1-0 advantage held up until the eighth inning.

Arizona Fall League rosters announced

MLB announced the rosters and coaching staffs of the 2022 Arizona Fall League, featuring many of the top prospects from the minor leagues.

Royals prospects will be part of the Surprise Saguaros roster along with minor-league players from the Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas Rangers.

Royals minors leaguers headed to the Arizona Fall League include: left-handed pitcher Christian Chamberlain, right-handed pitcher Jonah Dipoto, left-handed pitcher Walter Pennington, left-handed pitcher T.J. Sikkema, infielder Samad Taylor, outfielder Tyler Gentry and outfielder John Rave.

The Royals acquired Sikkema as part of the trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to the New York Yankees, and they acquired Taylor in the trade that sent Whit Merrifield to the Toronto Blue Jays.

This story was originally published September 16, 2022 9:36 PM.

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Lynn Worthy covers the Kansas City Royals and Major League Baseball for The Star. A native of the Northeast, he’s covered high school, collegiate and professional sports for The Lowell Sun, Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, Allentown Morning Call and The Salt Lake Tribune. He’s won awards for sports features and sports columns.

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