There were a number of good offensive performances:
- Todd Frazier had two doubles, a sacrifice fly, three runs scored and three RBIs.
- Leury Garcia went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and a run scored.
- Avisail Garcia had three hits, including a double, with two runs scored and an RBI.
- Omar Narvaez reached base four times with two singles and two walks, plus two RBIs and a run scored.
But all that offense aside, I really liked how Sox manager Rick Renteria kept shaky starting pitcher Dylan Covey on a short leash.
In the ideal world, Covey would be continuing his development in the minor leagues right now. But as a Rule 5 draft pick, he needs to remain on the big league roster or be offered back to the Oakland A's. So, he's serving as the Sox's No. 5 starter for now, and predictably and understandably, he's struggling.
He needed 86 pitches to get through four innings Tuesday night. There was a lot of traffic on the bases while he was in the game: He allowed three hits, walked three and hit a batter. In that context, he's fortunate to only give up two runs in those four innings.
The Sox (10-9) were leading, 4-2, after four innings, and it had to be tempting for Renteria to send Covey back to the mound to try to complete the fifth inning and become eligible for his first major league win.
Wisely, Renteria resisted the temptation. Covey was laboring, so the Sox went to their bullpen. Dan Jennings (2-0), Anthony Swarzak and Nate Jones combined to keep the Royals (7-12) off the scoreboard for the next four innings. Meanwhile, the Sox lead swelled to 10-2 going to the ninth.
Chris Beck, who was recalled Tuesday after Zach Putnam went on the disabled list with elbow inflammation, gave up three runs in the ninth to make the score look more respectable for the Royals.
But, one of the keys to victory was Renteria understanding that sticking with Covey any longer would have led to problems. The bullpen was rested after Miguel Gonzalez provided the Sox with eight quality innings Monday night, and using the relievers to secure that win was the correct move.