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

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.