Red Sox Bullpen Squanders Six-Run Lead for Tim Wakefield in 12-9 Loss to Royals

Tim Wakefield battled through the rain and pain, but the knuckler's biggest adversary Monday night in Kansas City was his own bullpen.

The Royals touched up relievers Manny Delcarmen and Daniel Bard for six combined runs in the sixth inning, spoiling Wakefield's 9-5 lead as Kansas City went on to win the series opener 11-9 in a rainy affair in the Midwest.

After jumping out to an 8-2 lead through 4 1/2 innings, the Red Sox offense let its foot off the gas and watched K.C. plate three in the fifth and six in the sixth. After their slow start with the bats, the Royals managed to score in five straight frames in the victory.

Royals 12, Red Sox 9
Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
September 21, 2009

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Headliner: First baseman Billy Butler had a pair of doubles while driving in two and scoring two runs of his own. Butler, Alberto Callaspo, Alex Gordon and Yuniesky Betancourt had two hits and two RBIs apiece.

Jason Bay notched a pair of hits including a three-run homer in the third to put the Sox on top early. The homer was Bay’s fourth in his last four games and his fourth multiple-hit game in his last five. Bay, who also scored twice, now has 11 RBIs in his last five contests and is currently riding a seven-game hit streak.

Dirt dog: Jamey Wright pitched two scoreless innings of relief for the Royals while center fielder Josh Anderson swiped two of the Royals' five bases and scored two runs out of the No. 9 slot.

Sox starter Tim Wakefield pushed through the rainy conditions and his injuries and was on pace to pick up his first win in over two months before the bullpen blew it. Wake struggled with his control, however, and walked seven batters, the most free passes he’s allowed in a game since May 27, 2005. The knuckler went five innings and coughed up five runs (four earned) in five frames while striking out two.

Better luck next time: Entering the game with a three-run lead in the sixth, Red Sox reliever Manny Delcarmen was knocked around in his 2/3 innings of work and was charged with four runs on three hits and a walk.

Royals starter (and former Sox hurler) Lenny DiNardo was tagged with eight earned runs over five innings. DiNardo allowed 10 hits, walked six and failed to strike out a Red Sox batter.

Key moment: After Manny Delcarmen got Mitch Maier to strike out with one on and one out in the sixth, it appeared as though the righty was set to escape the inning unscathed. However, after Butler and Callaspo doubled around a Mike Jacobs walk, the reliever found himself with just a one-run lead, prompting Terry Francona to give him the hook. Fellow 'pen mate Daniel Bard was unable to clean up the mess as Gordon smacked an RBI double before Betancourt plated both Gordon and Miguel Olivo with a single to make it 11-9.

On deck: Paul Byrd
and the Red Sox have their work cut out for them in Game 2 of the series as Royals ace Zack Greinke takes the bump for Kansas City.

Byrd is 1-1 with a 5.79 ERA and picked up a no decision in his last start after scattering three runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Angels at Fenway. The former Royal is 10-13 with a 5.20 ERA in his career at Kauffman Stadium.

Greinke, who was an early favorite for AL Cy Young, is 14-8 with a 2.14 ERA. The righty has won his last three decisions and won his first six starts of the year. After a winless July, Greinke went 3-2 in August and is 1-0 in three September starts. The three-year veteran is 8-3 at home this season but 0-2 in three games against the Sox in his career.