KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Almost to a man, the Kansas City Royals
had no idea they were close to baseball history.
After rallying for two runs in the ninth inning Monday night --
with the help of Nomar Garciaparra's second error -- to beat the
Boston Red Sox 7-6, the Royals are the first team in 92 years to
win its first 11 home games.
A victory Tuesday night over the same team that swept three
games from them in Boston last week would tie the modern major
league record the Detroit Tigers set in 1911 by starting 12-0 at
"Is that right? I had no idea,'' said Brent Mayne, whose routine grounder with the bases loaded and two outs rolled under
Garciaparra's glove at shortstop. "It would be nice to tie the
record, I suppose. But I'd rather win the division.''
As a promotion, the Royals gave the first 15,000 fans T-shirts
that say "Believe!'' in English and "Nosotros Creemos'' (we all
believe) in Spanish. And it looked like all 15,000 were being waved
in the air as the Royals loaded the bases in the ninth on two
singles and a walk before Brandon Lyon (1-1) hit Desi Relaford with a pitch to force in the tying run.
"I was happy to get that RBI any way I could get it,'' said
Relaford, who also hit a two-run homer.
It was the team-high eighth error for Garciaparra and his second
multierror game in three days. In an 11-7 loss to Minnesota on
Friday, he had his first career three-error game.
"I lost the game for us,'' the four-time All-Star said. "I
made some mistakes and cost us some runs. That was the difference.
Our pitchers did their job, we scored. But we lost.''
Mayne said he thought Garciaparra might have been screened by
the runner for a moment.
"I saw it a little bit, then I saw it the last minute,''
Garciaparra said. "I was just trying to keep it in front of me. It
was hard-hit. I put my glove down and it went past me. It was tough.''
Mike Sweeney scored the winning run for the Royals (20-9), off
to the best start in franchise history.
"Right now this ballclub has some kind of magic working in
their ballpark,'' Boston manager Grady Little said. "We've got to
come out tomorrow night and see if we can break up their magic.''
Varitek's two-out homer in the ninth put the Red Sox on top 6-5.
The Royals, who are 9-9 on the road, blew a 5-0 lead.
But Garciaparra hit a 2-1 pitch over the fence in center for his
fifth home run. Varitek then hit a 1-0 pitch from Lopez, who
started the ninth.
Boston starter Derek Lowe lasted only 3 2/3 innings. He gave up
five runs -- four earned -- on seven hits, with three walks and three
May retired 12 of his first 14 batters, but quickly ran into
trouble in the fifth. On his first five pitches, Shea Hillenbrand
doubled, Bill Mueller homered and Varitek doubled. With two outs,
Walker hit the third double of the inning to drive in Varitek and
make it 5-3.
Relaford and Tucker each hit two-run shots off Lowe in the
fourth to give the Royals a 5-0 lead. Harvey singled ahead of
Relaford's shot and Dee Brown singled before Tucker lifted an
opposite-field homer over the fence in left.
Tucker singled leading off the first and went to third when
Garciaparra fielded Joe Randa's grounder and threw the ball into
right field for Boston's sixth error in its last four games.
Sweeney's RBI groundout scored Tucker with an unearned run. May
was charged with four runs on seven hits.
Harvey was back after coming out of Saturday's game with
back spasms. ... Boston OF Trot Nixon was held out after irritating
his eye the day before, and was listed as day-to-day. ... Mueller
and Garciaparra stretched their hitting streaks to eight games. ...
Lowe threw 81 pitches, 52 for strikes. ... Angel Berroa was hit by
a pitch from Ramiro Mendoza in the sixth inning, the sixth time
already this year he's been plunked. ... Boston's Johnny Damon had
his nine-game hitting streak snapped.