BOSTON (AP)—The Boston Red Sox rallied for another big finish.
Todd Walker’s RBI double in the eighth inning sent the Red Sox to a 6-5 win over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night and a three-game sweep. Boston’s last two victories and seven of its 19 this season have come in its final at-bat.
“It seems like we can go out and get no-hit for seven innings and then put up five or six runs,” said Brandon Lyon, who pitched a perfect ninth for his second save. “You feel you’re never out of a game.”
The Royals have dropped four straight and five of six after opening the season with 17 wins in 21 games. Still, their 17-8 record matches their best start set in 1989.
“I will not give up on any of those guys,” Kansas City manager Tony Pena said. “They have been doing so well and right now they’re just going through a real tough time.”
The Royals blew a lead in all three games against Boston. Home runs by Mike Sweeney, Carlos Beltran and Raul Ibanez helped build a 5-3 advantage Thursday, but the Red Sox scored in the sixth, seventh and eighth.
“We find ways to win,” Boston’s Jason Varitek said. “We’ve won games, but we’re not all the way there yet.”
Boston’s 19-9 record is the fourth-best in baseball, behind the New York Yankees, Kansas City and San Francisco.
Trot Nixon hit his second homer of the year for the Red Sox, who won their fourth consecutive game. Boston improved to 10-1 at home after losing its Fenway Park opener.
Jason Shiell (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth for his first major league win in seven appearances.
“I was just trying to keep us in the ballgame,” Woodard said. “You never know what’s going to happen with this team late in the game.”
Johnny Damon grounded to first baseman Sweeney, who threw home to start a rundown in which Jackson was tagged out as Damon went to second.
Walker, who tripled in a run in the first, then lined a double to left that scored Damon.
“I had no idea what he (Grimsley) throws,” Walker said. “I just decided to go with that slider away and that’s what he threw.”
The Red Sox won 5-4 Wednesday with the help of three hit batsmen in the ninth, and plate umpire Larry Poncino warned both teams.
On Thursday, there were three ejections by plate umpire Phil Cuzzi.
Fossum and Boston manager Grady Little were thrown out when the first pitch after Sweeney’s two-run homer went behind Ibanez.
“I overthrew the ball,” said Fossum, who denied throwing deliberately behind the batter. “I was just frustrated. I had just given up a homer.”
But Pena was sure Fossum aimed behind Ibanez.
“No question about it,” he said.
Kansas City catcher Mike DiFelice was ejected in the eighth when he said something to Cuzzi after Pena went to the mound to talk with Grimsley.
“Our strike zone wasn’t as consistent as” the one for Boston pitchers, DiFelice said. “I just didn’t think it was fair.”
The Royals took a 2-0 lead in the first on Sweeney’s sixth homer after Beltran singled. The Red Sox tied it in the first when Damon reached on Sweeney’s error and scored on Walker’s triple. Manny Ramirez’s sacrifice fly drove in Walker.
Nixon homered in the sixth, and Boston tied it in the seventh when Garciaparra singled, advanced to third on Ramirez’s single and scored on DavidOrtiz’s double-play grounder.
Woodard had his longest outing of the season after pitching 11 2-3 innings in his other five appearances. … The Royals’ homers came one day after the end of their streak of nine games with at least one. … Snyderallowed one earned run in five innings.