Following an emotional return to Fenway Park on Saturday, the Red Sox are looking to continue helping the city of Boston heal in the wake of this past week's tragic events with Sunday's split doubleheader against the Royals.
Boston's seven-game winning streak came to an end with a 4-2 loss in Game 1, which saw Kansas City jump ahead for good with three runs off Ryan Dempster in the top of the fourth. Right-hander Allen Webster -- the Red Sox's No. 4 overall prospect, according to MLB.com -- will make his Major League debut in the nightcap, with Kansas City turning to veteran Jeremy Guthrie.
"I think it says it all, the fact that this city has come together at a time where we're at our weakest," Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said before Saturday's emotional pregame ceremony and eventual 4-3 victory. "It just proves how relentless this city is and how relentless this nation is."
Lately, the Red Sox have also proved how relentless they are on the field.
Despite playing with heavy hearts the day after the bombings, Boston took the field in Cleveland and earned a 7-2 victory en route to sweeping a three-game set from the Tribe. Then, after their expected return to Fenway was delayed by a day Friday night, the Sox picked up right where they left off Saturday, rallying to a victory when Daniel Nava hit a three-run homer in the eighth.
In the midst of the horrifying events off the field over the past week, the Red Sox put together their longest winning streak since June 3-12, 2011, when they rattled off nine consecutive victories.
Saturday's loss was the Royals' fourth in their last six games, but a win on Sunday night can secure a series victory. Regardless, Kansas City -- like much of the baseball world this week -- is honored to help the Boston community start to heal.
"It gives people something to keep their minds off of what's going on, gives them something to cheer about, something that gives them pride," Royals infielder Elliot Johnson said. "Obviously, many people in Boston are proud Red Sox fans and have been for generations."
On Sunday, those fans will have twice the opportunity to display that pride for their team, and more important, their city.
Royals: Cain not slowing down
Center fielder Lorenzo Cain recorded his first four-hit game as a Royal in Saturday's loss, hitting his first homer of the season. It was the third career four-hit game for Cain, who went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk in Sunday's first game to drop his average to .389.
Red Sox: Ortiz shifts focus to playing every day
With David Ortiz making his return in Saturday's emotional series-opening victory, manager John Farrell is now focused on how to best utilize his slugger going forward.
Playing in his first game since Aug. 24, 2012 -- and just his second since July 20 last season due to discomfort in his right Achilles -- Ortiz on Saturday went 2-for-4 with an RBI. In Sunday's twin-bill opener, he went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. For now, Farrell plans to wait and see how Ortiz responds to the rigors of playing on a daily basis, but one thing is for sure -- he likes his lineup card a lot better when Ortiz's name is penciled in.
"To see him walk in the clubhouse, the energy and the excitement that always seems to surround him, not only the ability of him as a player and a hitter, but to have him in the middle of the lineup, it lengthens out our lineup," Farrell said. "And we'll work through whatever needs he has from a physical standpoint and how he responds to daily play as our guide on how we continue to work him back as an everyday player."
• Entering Sunday's doubleheader, Red Sox starting pitchers had limited the opposition to three runs or fewer in each of the club's first 16 games -- a streak that came to an end in Game 1. Only six other teams, including last year's Pirates, have started the season with at least that many consecutive such outings.
• The Red Sox are still 10-0 this season when scoring first.