Lowly Royals punish Wake; Double plays thwart Boston.


Byline: Jennifer Toland

BOSTON - Tim Wakefield had won three straight starts and early on in last night's game against Kansas City looked like he was headed for No. 4, but it just wasn't his night, or the Red Sox' for that matter.

Twenty-four hours after being shut out by Sox rookie Kason Gabbard, the lowly Royals bounced back to take a 9-3 win.

"We just didn't get anything going," Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. "It happens."

The Royals collected 13 hits off Wakefield, Javier Lopez and Joel Pineiro. Kyle Snyder pitched a hitless ninth. Six of the hits were doubles.

The Red Sox had 12 hits - KC used five pitchers - but other than in the eighth, when they had four straight hits and scored two runs, couldn't string any together.

The Red Sox are 3-3 on this 11-game homestand. The Yankees beat the Blue Jays last night to close within eight games of Boston.

Wakefield allowed nine hits and six earned runs. He's allowed five runs or more in three of his last six starts, though he had won five of his previous six coming into last night's game.

Wakefield (10-9, 4.69) has earned a decision in all 19 of his starts this season. Luis Tiant, in 1975, was the last Red Sox pitcher to earn a decision in his first 19 starts.

Wakefield hummed through the first three innings - seemingly trying to keep pace with Monday night's game, a crisp 2-hour, 18-minute affair. (Last night's ended up being a more typical 3:16). He threw 23 pitches to get his first eight outs before Tony Pena singled to left with two outs in the third. Pena was quickly erased, however, as Doug Mirabelli threw him out trying to steal second.

The Royals tagged Wakefield for two runs in the fourth. Kansas City added a single run in the fifth and scored five times in the seventh.

Wakefield gave up a double to Reggie Sanders, a single to Alex Gordon and a two-RBI double to John Buck to start the inning and his night was over after Pena grounded out to first. Lopez was charged with two runs in the inning.

"I pitched well for the first three innings and it was 3-1 going into the seventh and then I just kind of lost a feel for the ball," Wakefield said, "just seemed to just kind of not go down at the end. And I don't know the reason why. I felt like I had pretty good movement on the ball. The Buck hit, I felt like it was a pretty good pitch, it just got in front and he was able to get enough wood under it to get it off the wall. It was just one of those situations where I couldn't make...

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