BOSTON — Pick a word. Incredible, maybe? That’s as good as any.
Tony Abreu’s two-out RBI single in the 11th inning Saturday night lifted the Royals to a 10-9 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
The Royals blew an early three-run lead and later erased a six-run deficit. They also escaped a first-and-third threat in the Boston 10th when catcher Salvy Perez made a terrific sweep tag at the plate.
Both teams burned through their bullpens in this 4-hour, 31-minute marathon.
The Royals, fittingly, scored the winning run with a two-out rally in the 11th. All six of their runs in the seventh came with two outs.
Boston reliever Junichi Tazawa (0-1) walked Jeff Francoeur walked before Eric Hosmer drove a double to left. Tazawa then jumped ahead 0-2 on Abreu before Abreu slapped an RBI single to left.
After that, it was just a matter of Greg Holland closing out a victory for Francisley Bueno. Holland did just that for his seventh save in seven chances since becoming the club’s closer.
About that Boston 10th…
Pedro Ciriaco led off with a single through the right side against Kelvin Herrera. Recall that it was Ciraco’s bloop two-run double Friday against Herrera that lifted the Red Sox to a 4-3 victory in the series opener.
Herrera then bounced a wild pitch past Perez, which moved Ciriaco to second. Ciriaco took third on Scott Podsednik’s sacrifice. The Royals chose to walk Dustin Pedroia before summoning Bueno to face Jacoby Ellsbury.
It was a percentage left-on-left move in a low-percentage situation.
The Royals shortened their infield – and got what they needed when Hosmer fielded Ellsbury’s sharp grounder to first and threw home. Perez applied a magnificent sweep tag in a bang-bang play for the out.
Bueno (1-0) ended the inning by striking out Che-Hsuan Lin.
The Royals had a chance in the 10th inning. Mike Moustakas, whose two-run triple capped a six-run seventh inning, reached as the leadoff hitter when hit by an 0-2 pitch from Vicente Padilla.
Moustakas took second on Francoeur’s grounder to first, which prompted an intentional walk to Hosmer. The threat fizzled when Abreu and Lorenzo Cain struck out.
Abreu later atoned.
There were other chances, too.
Podsednik opened the Boston eighth with a single against Tim Collins, who caught a break when Pedroia lined into a double play. Hosmer made a leaping catch and doubled off Podsednik.
Ellsbury followed with a double high off the Green Monster in left field, which prompted a change to Herrera to face Cody Ross. Ellsbury stole third on Herrera’s first pitch, but Ross subsequently flied out to center.
It was all a remarkable roller-coaster ride.
The Royals built a 3-0 lead against Boston starter Aaron Cook just four batters into the game but saw the Red Sox batter Jeremy Guthrie for seven runs in 2 2/3 innings. When Everett Teaford allowed two more runs in the fourth, the Royals trailed 9-3.
It was still 9-3 with two outs in the seventh when the Royals erupted for six runs against three Boston relievers and pulled even at 9-9.
That permitted Guthrie to escape with a no-decision, which is probably fair since he got a no-decision in his last start after, on review, carrying a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the White Sox.