Archive for Saturday, May 8, 2004

Royals collapse in ninth

May 8, 2004


— Manny Ramirez had more fun scoring on a teammate's double Friday night than on a home run.

Mark Bellhorn tied the score with a two-run homer in the ninth inning, and pinch-hitter Jason Varitek doubled home Ramirez with the winning run, leading the Boston Red Sox over the Kansas City Royals, 7-6.

"I was running hard all the way," said Ramirez, who scored standing up even though it was a fairly close play. "It's an unbelievable feeling when your teammates can come at you as you cross the plate. I feel better than when I hit a homer."

Boston trailed 6-2 in the eighth inning before rallying to win its third straight following a season-high five-game losing streak. Kansas City, 2-13 on the road this season, has lost 17 of its last 21 overall.

A wild performance by Royals closer Mike MacDougal helped Boston get started in the ninth.

MacDougal (0-1) walked Johnny Damon leading off, and Bellhorn homered deep into the right-field seats.

"In those situations, you just go up there, and you have to believe in yourself, and that's kind of what I did," Bellhorn said. "I ended up putting a good swing on it and making good contact."

After David Ortiz struck out, Ramirez walked. Scott Sullivan relieved and got Kevin Millar to pop to second, then allowed Varitek's drive down the right-field line. Ramirez barely beat the relay from second baseman Desi Relaford.

"Control wasn't there tonight," MacDougal said. "It's frustrating. It has been a struggle so far. I just need to come in and shut the door."

It was Boston's third last-at-bat win of the season at Fenway Park.

"There are a lot of cliches -- guys don't give up," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "You can run about 10 of them out there, and they are all applicable. I do think they believe that they can come back."

Doug Mirabelli drove in Ramirez with an eighth-inning single after Gabe Kapler's fly ball fell in front of center fielder Carlos Beltran for a single. Kapler also came around on Mirabelli's hit when left fielder Matt Stairs threw wildly past second base for an error.

Mike Timlin (2-1) pitched a hitless ninth in relief of Tim Wakefield, who allowed six runs -- four earned -- and nine hits in eight innings.

Damon had a solo homer and double for Boston.

Kansas City's Jeremy Affeldt allowed four runs and 11 hits in 7 1/3 innings.

"It's very simple," Royals manager Tony Pena said. "It's another game that ran away from our hands. We played well. Jeremy Affeldt threw the ball well."

The Royals built a 2-0 lead on Mike Sweeney's RBI grounder in the first and a fielding error by Bellhorn at second after Wakefield had caught Beltran off first for what would have been the final out of the inning.

Damon's homer and Millar's RBI double tied it in the third.

Juan Gonzalez hit a go-ahead single in a four-run fifth that also included Stairs' RBI double, Joe Randa's run-scoring infield single. Third baseman Bill Mueller's throwing error let in another run.

Notes: Pokey Reese grounded out off Affeldt's upper right leg, ending the fourth. ... The Royals hadn't drawn a walk in 22 innings until Sweeney did in the fourth. ... Boston OF Trot Nixon, on the DL with back problems, was in town to see team physician Dr. Bill Morgan and visited his teammates before batting practice. ... Boston began a stretch of four straight games against left-handed starters.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.