KANSAS CITY -- Matt Albers was the logical choice in the eighth inning Tuesday night.
He just wasn't the successful choice.
Albers, who has a terrific sinker and had made seven straight scoreless appearances, was brought in with runners on first and second and no outs and Billy Butler due for the Kansas City Royals, who trailed 4-3.
With one swing, Butler changed that in a hurry, belting a pitch from Albers deep into the seats in left for a three-run homer that brought the Royals a 6-4 win over the Red Sox.
"I'm trying to go down-and-away right there," explained Albers, "which I think is the right pitch. I can sit here and second-guess, but if I just execute . . . I didn't stay back over the rubber quite enough and the ball leaked over the plate and (Butler) is a good hitter.
"I've faced him a few times and gotten him to roll over on sinkers in and down-and-away. That's what I was trying to do right there and the ball just leaked over the plate. It didn't really run much. It kind of stayed straight and got right down the middle of the plate and he made us play."
Albers entered the game with an ERA of 1.29 and WHIP of 0.86, having strung together 9 23 innings of scoreless ball. Over his last 13 13 innings, he had given up just one run and for the season, he had held opposing righthanded hitters to a .138 (4-for-29) batting average and had stranded seven of the nine inherited runners.
"I didn't think there was an alternative," said Bobby Valentine. "Albers had pitched great. I had Matt ready just in case something happened. Something happened."
"That was the pitch I wanted," concluded Albers. "I just have to execute a little better. I know he's trying to do damage in that situation and I can use that to my advantage. But the ball didn't get where I wanted and he hit it."
Dustin Pedroia is out of the lineup again tonight after leaving the Red Sox game Thursday night with knee pain in the fifth inning.
Josh Rutledge will start at second base as the Sox open a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park.
The weather and sloppy field conditions were a factor in John Farrell deciding to get Pedroia out of the game Thursday and conditions haven’t improved significantly Friday.
Pedroia (.288, two homers, 21 RBI) had surgery on that knee in October. It's the same leg that was hurt when Manny Machado slid into Pedroia at second base in April, the slide that sparked the plunking war between the Orioles and Red Sox.
The full lineups:
Jean Segura SS
Guillermo Heredia CF
Robinson Canó 2B
Nelson Cruz DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Danny Valencia 1B
Taylor Motter LF
Ben Gamel RF
Mike Zunino C
Yovanni Gallardo RHP
Mookie Betts RF
Andrew Benintendi LF
Xander Bogaerts SS
Hanley Ramirez DH
Mitch Moreland 1B
Josh Rutledge 2B
Jackie Bradley Jr CF
Christian Vazquez C
Deven Marrero 3B
Eduardo Rodriguez LHP
BOSTON — Red Sox left-hander David Price is set to make his season debut in a holiday matinee Monday on the road in Chicago against the White Sox.
Price, 31, starting the second season of a $217 million, seven-year contract, has been recovering from a strained pitching elbow since spring training.
“Excited, just to be back here,” he said Thursday. “There’s not a better feeling. You can’t replicate it anywhere else.”
Price allowed nine runs — six earned — and 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings in a pair of less-than-impressive injury rehabilitation starts at Triple-A Pawtucket. He struck out eight and walked two.
“A lot of pitches, in a short amount of time. I think that is more of a test to being healthy as opposed to going out there and throwing five or six [innings] in 90 pitches,” he said. “To do what I did in both of my rehab outings, I don’t think you can do that if you’re not healthy.”
The Red Sox (24-21) have won four in a row heading into their weekend series against the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park.
“He’s eager to get back to us and physically he feels great,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “His return to us will give us a definite boost but that’s not to de-emphasize he needs to go out and perform.”
Farrell hopes Price’s return has a trickle-down impact.
“It’s not based solely on the name on the back of his jersey,” Farrell said. “Hopefully it allows us to even out some of the performances within the rotation.”
© 2017 by The Associated Press.