A Red Sox come-from-behind win and a Royals shutout have set the stage for Sunday's rubber match in the teams' three-game series in Boston.
Kansas City (58-88) snapped a four-game losing streak in emphatic fashion with Saturday's 9-0 win, its ninth shutout of the season.
MJ Melendez went 3-for-5 with a double, two RBIs and became the first catcher in Royals history to score four runs in a game on Saturday. He was one of several stars who contributed to a 15-hit attack.
"It was a great day, offense was absolutely running today," Melendez said in a post-game interview on Bally Sports Kansas City. "It's always great, (Brady) Singer did an amazing job on the mound, got us in here really quickly and the offense was just able to pile on runs today."
After Singer's six shutout innings set the tone on Saturday, the Royals will turn to left-hander Kris Bubic (2-12, 5.55 ERA) in the series finale.
Bubic and Boston's Nick Pivetta (9-11, 4.31) also matched up on Aug. 4, but neither starter factored into the decision of the Royals' 7-3 win.
In his second career start against the Red Sox (70-75), Bubic held them to two runs and four hits over six complete frames.
Pivetta tossed five innings, allowing three runs on seven hits.
"I was able to kind of control my attention with runners on base, make good pitches when I needed to and they put the ball in play pretty well, but I was able to limit damage as much as I could," Pivetta said after his August start against the Royals.
Bubic has taken six consecutive losses and logged a 6.19 ERA in that span for the Royals, though he worked at least six innings in two of his last three starts.
In his Tuesday start, the left-hander struck out six but allowed five runs on 10 hits to Minnesota over five innings.
"It's frustrating when everything that could possibly go wrong has gone wrong, not even today, just the whole freakin' year," Bubic said.
Bubic's last win came on July 24 against another American League opponent, Tampa Bay.
Singer has been on the mound for each of the Royals' last two wins, both shutouts.
"That third inning after we scored a couple and (Singer got) the bases loaded, you could just tell he (found) another gear," Royals manager Mike Matheny said. "That's a sign of something special."
Pivetta looks to make his fourth career start against the Royals a winner. He didn't factor into the decision in Tuesday's 7-6 loss to the Yankees after working 5 1/3 innings of three-run ball.
Despite a five-start winless streak since Aug. 16 in Pittsburgh, Pivetta has a 3.86 ERA since the beginning of August.
The Red Sox have fallen in the AL race throughout most of that time, but players have seized opportunities to prove their worth for a roster spot in 2023.
Pitcher Brayan Bello and first baseman Triston Casas have been regulars for at least a few weeks, while the likes of Kaleb Ort, Eduard Bazardo and Zack Kelly are contributing in the bullpen.
"If you've got stuff and you've got talent, it's always important to give them a try and see what happens," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said.
Pivetta is 0-1 with a 7.53 ERA over 14 1/3 career innings against Kansas City, a team that he hadn't faced since last season.
--Field Level Media