Red Sox rally in 7th, 8th to upend Royals at home

BOSTON (AP) -- A comeback win kept the Boston Red Sox in first

place. Staying there could be tougher if Tim Wakefield is


Elias Says

Manny Ramirez
Manny Ramirez won it for the Red Sox with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning. It was the 12th time since joining Boston in 2001 that he has had a game-winning RBI in the eighth inning or later. If you don't think that's a high total for a man who ranks third in the major leagues in RBI since 2001, you're right. Thirty-four players have more 8th-inning-or-later game-winning RBI than Manny over that period, including the major-league leader, David Ortiz, with 26.

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A back injury ended the knuckleballer's outing after four

innings Monday night, and Boston rallied from a four-run deficit

for a 5-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals capped by Manny Ramirez's sacrifice fly in the eighth inning.

Wakefield, whose start was pushed back a day so he could rest

his back, will undergo tests on his strained upper back Tuesday,

and manager Terry Francona said "I guess I'm still hoping" he

doesn't go on the disabled list.

Two other starters, Matt Clement and David Wells, already are on

the disabled list.

The first-place Red Sox stayed one-half game in front of New

York in the AL East as the Yankees beat Seattle 4-2 on Monday.

The Red Sox, who had lost four of five, hoped to stop their

slide as they began a four-game series against baseball's worst

team. But Luke Hudson shut them out for six innings while Kansas

City took a 4-0 lead.

Boston tied the game in the seventh on Coco Crisp's RBI single

and Doug Mirabelli's three-run homer before pinch-runner Willie

Harris scored the winning run on Ramirez's fly ball to medium left


"We just didn't do much offensively for a while," Francona

said. "Once Dougie hits that ball, the whole complexion of the

game changes."

Mike Timlin (5-0) pitched a perfect eighth and Jonathan Papelbon

worked the ninth for his 27th save in 30 opportunities. Joel

Peralta (1-2) was the loser as the Royals lost for the sixth time

in seven games.

"We just can't seem to make a pitch when we need to," Kansas

City manager Buddy Bell said. Peralta "has been throwing good for

us. He went 3-2 on Mirabelli. He had to come in there."

Hudson allowed just two runners to reach second base in the

first six innings, one on an error that broke Mark Grudzielanek's

95-game errorless streak, 18 last year with St. Louis and 77 this

year with Kansas City, a club record.

The Royals had taken a 3-0 lead in the second and made it 4-0 in

the sixth against Manny Delcarmen.

Wakefield hit Emil Brown with a pitch then retired the next two

batters. But Mark Teahen singled and Joey Gathright walked, loading

the bases. John Buck walked, forcing in the first run, and David

DeJesus followed with a two-run single.

Delcarmen pitched a scoreless fifth then allowed a run in the

sixth when Teahen singled, Gathright walked and both advanced on

Buck's sacrifice bunt. Teahen then scored on DeJesus' groundout.

Hudson said he was relying on "fastballs. They're a good

hitting bacllclub. You have to get ahead of them" in the count.

Boston tied it in the seventh when singles by Ramirez, Mike

Lowell and Crisp produced one run and chased Hudson with one out.

Peralta then threw a 3-1 pitch that appeared to be a ball, and

Mirabelli took four steps toward first base before home plate

umpire Jim Joyce called it a strike.

Mirabelli lined the next pitch into the seats in left for his

third homer.

"I had no idea what he was going to throw there," Mirabelli

said. "It's nice any time I can add to the offense. It takes a

little pressure off the big guys."

Peralta left after Mark Loretta's leadoff single in the eighth.

Andrew Sisco allowed a single to David Ortiz that sent Loretta to

third. Harris pinch ran and scored just ahead of left fielder

DeJesus' throw on Ramirez's fly ball off Todd Wellemeyer.

"Putting Willie on third makes them play the infield in all the

way, rather than maybe two or three steps deeper with Loretta

there," Francona said. "In a game like that, you don't know if

one step will be the difference, and it was."

Game Notes
The Red Sox passed the 1.5 million mark in attendance in

their 42nd home game, the earliest they've done that. Their 268th

straight home sellout crowd, 36,436, boosted their season total to

1,521,334. ... Red Sox infielders made three outstanding defensive

plays, two by shortstop Alex Gonzalez and one by second baseman

Loretta. ... Kansas City's Tony Graffanino had his career-best

10-game hitting streak ended. ... Kansas City suffered its

major-league high 20th blown save. ... Ortiz had his sixth career

stolen base in the eighth, his first since July 10, 2005.