Mueller then fouled off eight more pitches in a 13-pitch at-bat,
including another shot that would have needed some Carlton
Fisk-style body English to stay fair.
With a full count, two outs and the bases loaded, Cerda then got
Mueller to ground out to third base to squelch Boston's biggest
threat and secure the Kansas City Royals' 8-4 victory over the Red
Sox on Sunday.
After the first pitch, "I turned and looked and thought, 'Wow,
that wall in left field is pretty close," said Cerda, who had
never been to Fenway Park before. "The electricity out there was
unbelievable. Nine pitches in a row and the crowd is getting louder
and louder and louder. It was real fun, I'll tell you that."
Darrell May earned his first victory of the season and Carlos
Beltran drove in four runs on three hits to help the Royals snap a
four-game losing streak. May (1-3) allowed two runs on seven hits
and a walk, striking out five before leaving with the bases loaded
and two outs in the sixth.
Cerda came in to face Mueller, who hit a two-run homer in the
second inning and was batting 5-for-10 with four homers and seven
RBI in his career against May. After the first shot went foul,
Mueller took two balls before fouling off eight consecutive
The next pitch was high to make it a full count, and then
Mueller hit an easy bouncer to third to end the threat.
"You beat yourself up every time you make an out," Mueller
But his boss appreciated the effort.
"What an at-bat," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "And,
you know, the more pitches he saw the better he felt. Just couldn't
keep one of those balls fair. It was a great at-bat. A very
Cerda went two innings and allowed one run on one hit -- Manny
Ramirez's solo homer in the eighth. Mike Sweeney was 2-for-2 with
three intentional walks and Kelly Stinnett homered for the Royals,
who won on the road for just the third time all season.
"When a ballclub's struggling, to win a ballgame can mean a
lot," manager Tony Pena said. "It might turn around something.
Derek Lowe (3-3) gave up six runs on five hits and five walks in
5 2/3 innings and Boston lost for the first time in five games. He
gave up two unearned runs in the third and ran into more trouble
after bringing a 2-2 tie into the sixth.
Joe Randa led off with a single and, two outs later, Desi
Relaford and David DeJesus walked. Mueller fielded Angel Berroa's
grounder at third but his throw to second was not in time for the
force, allowing the tiebreaking run to score.
With Mark Malaska pitching, Beltran doubled to clear the bases
and make it 6-2.
The Red Sox had a chance to tie it in the bottom of the sixth,
when they loaded the bases but came away empty-handed.
Beltran doubled in another run in the eighth to make it 7-2,
then Ramirez homered. Pokey Reese walked and scored on Johnny
Damon's broken-bat single with two outs in the ninth to make it 8-4
before Dennys Reyes relieved Scott Sullivan and got Mark Bellhorn
for the final out.
The Red Sox took a 2-0 lead in the second when Millar singled
and Mueller lined one over the Green Monster, but Kansas City tied
it in the third.
Relaford walked and DeJesus hit a grounder to first baseman
David McCarty, who tried to get the lead runner. Shortstop Reese
came off the bag before he took the throw and was charged with an
error. Berroa struck out and Beltran grounded out to first to
advance the runners before Sweeney doubled to make it 2-2.
Notes: May's last victory was Sept. 21, 2003, a 10-4 victory
over the White Sox. ... It was the 14th sellout of the season and
78th in a row for the Red Sox. ... The Red Sox have allowed 19
unearned runs as a team, nine of them when Lowe is pitching. ...
The start of the game was delayed 16 minutes because of rain. ...
Ramirez has 119 homers since coming to Boston, tying him with Joe
Cronin for 20th on the team's all-time list. ... Stinnett came in
to replace Benito Santiago, who was thrown out for arguing a called
third strike to end the seventh.