BOSTON (AP) -- The Boston Red Sox found a wild way to win another
game in their last at-bat.
They capitalized on three hit batsmen, two errors and one wild
pitch to score three runs in the ninth inning and beat the Kansas City Royals 5-4 Wednesday night."You play 162 games, there's going to be some weird stuff
happening," Boston's Todd Walker said.The Red Sox matched the team record set in 1998 for wins in
April with an 18-8 mark. Six of those wins came in their last
at-bat."I feel like we've been consistent," said Shea Hillenbrand,
who had 25 RBI in the month and extended his hitting streak to 12
games. "I don't feel like we've been too high or too low."Kansas City's pitches were all over the place, starting with
Albie Lopez's wild pitch that allowed Kevin Millar to score the
tying run in the eighth.The Red Sox had left the bases loaded in the sixth, seventh and
eighth before scoring the winning run on first baseman Mike Sweeney's error on Jason Varitek's one-out grounder.The three hit batsmen in one inning tied a modern major-league
record. It was the 17th time since 1900 that one team hit three
batters in the same inning and only the second time in the ninth.
That other time occurred on Sept. 17, 1928, when the Chicago Cubs
hit three Boston Braves.The Royals took a 4-2 lead in the ninth on Ken Harvey's two-run
single.In the bottom of the inning, Mike MacDougal (1-2) hit two
batters and threw a wild pitch, and D.J. Carrasco hit one batter.
Of Carrasco's other three pitches, one was a ball and two were
errors."We know (MacDougal) is going to have a day like that, and he
went through it in spring training," Royals manager Tony Pena said
of his rookie closer. "We just have to deal with it and be patient
with him."The hard-throwing MacDougal entered the game in the top of the
ninth with 10 saves in 11 opportunities and a chance to tie the
club record off 11 in a month shared by Dan Quisenberry and Jeff Montgomery."I felt all right," MacDougal said. "I just needed to throw
the ball over the plate and I wasn't doing it."But Boston manager Grady Little wasn't happy that his team
stranded 14 runners."We saw some things out there tonight that you don't see very
often," he said. "Finally, we scored one on a wild pitch and got
the other there at the end on an error. We'll take it."Walker led off the ninth with a single and took second on a wild
pitch. MacDougal then hit Nomar Garciaparra above the left elbow.Manny Ramirez singled in a run and Millar made it 4-all with a
sacrifice fly. Then MacDougal hit Hillenbrand on the left elbow,
putting runners at first and third."His ball moves so much," Walker said. "He just lost a little
control of it."Carrasco replaced MacDougal, but his aim was just as bad. After
catcher Brent Mayne dropped Johnny Damon's foul pop for an error,
Carrasco hit Damon on the foot.That's when home plate umpire Larry Poncino warned both benches."They control the game," Pena said. "I don't think anybody
was thinking we're trying to hit anybody in that situation."Then Varitek hit the ball to Sweeney, who went to his right to
backhand it. But it popped into the air as Ramirez scored easily.Alan Embree (1-0) faced one batter in the ninth after Ramiro Mendoza gave up Harvey's hit.The Royals had two hits in the first eight innings before Joe
Randa singled in the ninth. Carlos Febles pinch-ran and took third
on Carlos Beltran's double.Brandon Lyon replaced Mendoza and struck out Sweeney before Raul Ibanez was walked intentionally. Harvey then lined his single to
center.The Royals' first two hits came in a two-run second. Mueller had
led off Boston's first with his first homer of the year.
The first pitch was thrown out by Mamie "Peanut" Johnson,
a former pitcher in the Negro Leagues. ... Garciaparra was caught
stealing in the first inning for the second time in five attempts.
... The Red Sox set a club record with 155 runs in 26 games in
April. The previous best was 146 in 25 games in 1997. ... Desi
Relaford's double gave him 10 hits in 22 at-bats. ... The Royals'
home run streak ended at nine games.