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Sox Win Wild One in Beantown

By Phil Janowicz

SPORTS COLUMNIST

On a Wednesday night filled with opportunities, the Red Sox just squeaked by the Royals 5-4. Despite loaded bases in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, the Red Sox took advantage of two Royal errors in the bottom of the ninth to rally from down 4-2 to win in dramatic fashion.

To start off the bottom of the ninth, the Royals put in closer Mike “Wild Thing” MacDougal who has a 100 mph fastball and a little control problem as of late. MacDougal blew his last save attempt in Toronto during the Jays’ rally from down six in the bottom of the ninth. He was looking to tie the Royals record for saves in a single month (11) by converting the save Wednesday.

Todd Walker led off the bottom of the ninth with a single to right field. Then, MacDougal threw a wild pitch that nearly took Nomar’s head off. Trying to shake it off, he gave up an RBI single to right field by Manny that drove in Walker and advanced Garciaparra to 3rd. Millar hit a sac fly to right to tie the game up at 4-4.

The very next pitch, MacDougal drilled Shea Hillenbrand on the shoulder with a 97 mph fastball, so the Royals made a pitching change to their phenom DJ Carrasco. Seeing the opportunity to be the hero, Johnny Damon tried to go yard on the first pitch and popped up behind home plate. Luckily, the ball was sailing over near the bats in the on-deck circle, so Royals catcher Brent Mayne had some trouble fielding the catch and dropped the ball for an error. Then, Carrasco beaned Damon to load the bases with one out, the same situation the Sox had been in the previous three innings. After a tense moment over the bean balls, Jason Varitek came up and hit a bouncer right to Royals first baseman Mike Sweeney.

Sweeney saw the opportunity to turn the inning-ending double play, but he made the turn to throw before the ball got into his glove. The ball bounced off the tip of his glove to give the Sox the win on the unearned run. The Royals tied an American League record for hit batsmen in an inning with three. Alan Embree got the win, pitching 0.1 innings in the top of the ninth, and MacDougal took the loss and his second blown save of the season.

Derek Lowe got the no decision even though he pitched a great game allowing two hits, two earned runs, three walks, one hit bastman, and striking out two. He was denied his fourth win of the season once again.

Royals starter Darrell May pitched a great game as well allowing five hits, one earned run (a lead-off home run by Bill Mueller in the first), two walks, two wild pitches, and striking out six. After giving up the home run to Mueller, May settled down and breezed through the order his second time through.

In the eighth inning, Kevin Millar scored on a wild pitch by Albie Lopez, tying up the game 2-2.

The game contained more wild pitches and hit batsmen than I had ever seen outside of little league.