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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Mookie Betts hit a two-run homer off Danny Duffy in a four-run third inning and the Boston Red Sox defeated the Kansas City Royals 7-5 Thursday to complete their first series sweep in nearly a month.
Boston outscored the Royals 23-8 over three games and swept a series for just the fourth time this year, the first since May 10-12 against the Chicago White Sox. The World Series champions are 27-16 following a 6-13 start.
Betts is 7 for 11 with five home runs against Duffy (3-3), including six hits, five home runs and a walk in his last seven plate appearances.
Kansas City has lost six straight and nine of 10, dropping to a big league-worst 19-43.
With a doubleheader coming up Saturday against Tampa Bay, Boston gave Ryan Weber his third start. He allowed two runs and five hits in 1 1/3 innings, and Colten Brewer (1-2) followed with two scoreless innings of two-hit relief.
Matt Barnes, Boston’s seventh pitcher, allowed Jorge Soler’s one-out RBI double in the ninth but got his fourth save in seven chances by striking out Ryan O’Hearn and Chelsor Cuthbert.
Duffy allowed four runs and four hits in 2 1/3 innings. Eduardo Núñez’s hard drive went off Duffy’s right shin and ricocheted to O’Hearn, who tagged Núñez for the final out of the second. Duffy retired one of six batters he faced in the third.
Betts’ 10th home run tied the score, and Rafael Devers put Boston ahead with a two-run single.
Soler’s fifth-inning homer cut the deficit to 4-3, but Christian Vázquez hit a two-run triple in the seventh and scored on Scott Barlow’s wild pitch.
Cuthbert and Alex Gordon homered for the Royals.
Red Sox DH J.D. Martinez was removed in the fifth inning because of back spasms. ... LHP Brian Johnson, on the IL since April 6 because of elbow inflammation, is to make his sixth minor league injury rehab appearance Sunday.
Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (4-5, 4.76 ERA) starts Friday’s opener of a four-game series against visiting Tampa Bay.
Royals: RHP Homer Bailey (4-6, 6.05 ERA) takes the mound Friday at home against the White Sox.
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