Mookie Betts was one of the offensive starts as the Red Sox took down Johnny Cueto and the Royals Friday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Closing Time: Red Sox beat another ace in Johnny Cueto as Sox take down Royals for 4th straight win

Ryan Hannable
August 21, 2015 - 5:41 pm
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Ace, what ace? For the third time in a week, the Red Sox were able to make an opposing team's ace look like just an average pitcher. After tagging Felix Hernandez for 10 runs Saturday and Corey Kluber for six runs Wednesday, Friday it was Johnny Cueto's turn, as the Red Sox scored seven runs off the new ace of the Royals staff. The Red Sox beat the Royals 7-2 Friday night for their fourth straight win and was the first time they've won four straight since July 4-8. It's the second time all season they've won four straight games. "We beat Archer, we beat King Felix, we beat Cueto tonight, I just think this team is capable of doing special things in any special moment," interim manager Torey Lovullo said. "It doesn't matter who is on the mound. Tonight we rose to the occasion. Tonight we hit some quality pitches. I think tonight Johnny gave up a season-high 13 hits. We just had some quality at-bats. Our guys are locked in." Five straight base hits in the second inning got the Red Sox three runs. Travis Shaw started things off with a one-out double and then Blake Swihart had a double that scored two runs. Mookie Betts closed the scoring with an RBI-single to left that Paulo Orlando couldn't come up with. They added two more in the fourth thanks to some spotty defense in center field by Lorenzo Cain. Rusney Castillo tripled on a ball that had a chance to be caught (although it would have been a nice catch) and then he scored on Swihart's single. Swihart came around to score when Betts singled to center and Cain kicked the ball around, allowing him to plate the fifth Red Sox run. Josh Rutledge -- who is 5-for-6 lifetime against Cueto -- added a two-run homer in the sixth. Cueto departed after the inning, allowing seven runs on 13 hits. Making his fourth major league start and second against a first place team, Henry Owens was very effective. The lanky left-hander went eight strong innings allowing two runs on just four hits, while walking one and striking out four. "Quality outing for Henry," Lovullo said. "What's there not to say about what he did? Eight innings, one earned run, got into a great rhythm. Him and Blake were solid together. A two-pitch, at times three-pitch mix. It just seemed to really all click for him. He got into a great flow and a great rhythm. We wanted him to  touch the eighth inning, those were some of the conversations we were having in the dugout, but he was so efficient that he worked through the eighth inning. That was a special night for him." He got some help with some terrific defense behind him, but the 23-year-old was on his game. Health Hembree pitched the ninth inning to finish things off. Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox' win: WHAT WENT RIGHT -- Betts continues to swing a hot bat as he went 3-for-5 in the win. It was his third three-hit game of the month. -- Shaw extended his hit streak to six games and in those games he's hitting a whopping .565 with five extra-base hits. -- Castillo went 2-for-3, which means he's now hit safely in each of his last seven games. He's batting .283 for the season. -- Swihart had four hits, including two doubles. It was his second straight multi-hit game and second four-hit game in his last four games. WHAT WENT WRONG -- Hanley Ramirez went 0-for-4 and he's now 0 for his last 13 and has just one walk in his last 72 plate appearances. -- David Ortiz went 0-for-4 and is in the midst of a 0-for-7 slump.

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