The Red Sox and Royals don’t have much of a rivalry. Don’t tell that to Alex Gordon or Billy Butler.
Gordon and Butler have both been extremely tough on Boston over the years, and after another successful series by the Royals sluggers, they’re really starting to pad their reputation as Red Sox killers.
Gordon led the charge Sunday as the Royals took down the Red Sox 4-3 in the series finale. He went 3-for-4 with a home run, a double, two RBIs and a stolen base, while also making a number of excellent plays in left field. It was an all-too-familiar sight for the Red Sox, who have been on the receiving end of a constant beatdown by Gordon over the years.
Gordon answered the Red Sox’ game-opening run Sunday with an RBI single in the bottom of the first, and he took John Lackey deep for his 13th home run of the season in the third inning to give Kansas City its fourth and eventual winning run. Overall, Gordon went 6-for-12 with two home runs and three RBIs in the final three games of the series. The two-time Gold Glove winner also tracked down a number of fly balls, including one in the fifth inning of Sunday’s game in which he banged into the wall in foul territory.
The Red Sox have been getting their teeth kicked in by Gordon for some time, although 2012 represented the most vicious blow, as the 29-year-old hit .407 (11-for-27) with seven RBIs in seven games against the Sox. Following the recent four-game set, in which the Royals took three games, Gordon is hitting .359 (52-for-145) with six home runs and 27 RBIs in 39 contests against Boston.
Butler, meanwhile, did just as much raking during the four-game series, even if his impact in Sunday’s win was minimal. Butler only had one hit Sunday — a single in the eighth inning — but he finished the series hitting .471 (8-for-17) with a home run and three RBIs.
Butler’s biggest assault came back in 2011, when he batted .455 (15-for-33) with three home runs and 10 RBIs in eight games against Boston, but he has enjoyed success against the Red Sox in every season except 2008. He walks away from the teams’ seven-game 2013 slate hitting .333 (59-for-177) with eight home runs and 32 RBIs in 47 games against the Red Sox.
A rivalry between Boston and Kansas City might never heat up, mainly because they only see each other so many times a year. The Red Sox should be thankful for that.
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