BOSTON (AP) - Things were so bad for the Kansas City pitching staff at Fenway Park Tuesday night that it took outfielder Mitch Maier to finally shut down the Red Sox.
``It just wasn't a good night for us pitching-wise,' Kansas City manager Ned Yost said after Maier worked a scoreless eighth inning in a 13-9 loss to Boston. ``We couldn't command the ball. It just kind of sums it all up when Mitch Maier had the best appearance of the night for us. We just couldn't command the ball. We couldn't throw strikes. We had nine walks. Threw 220 pitches in seven innings. It just wasn't a good night.'
But it turned out to be an opportunity that rarely comes along for a position player. With the Kansas City bullpen tired from Monday night's 14-inning game and the real pitchers beat up for 13 runs, 15 hits and nine walks, Yost called on Maier, who pitched for the first time since Little League.
``An opportunity to pitch in Fenway Park, as an outfielder? It's something I'll never forget,' Maier said, ice packs on his elbow and shoulder and the game's lineup card placed in his locker. ``It's one of those things that, obviously a circumstance you don't ever want to be in as a team, but to get an opportunity to do that in my big league career is something that I'll remember forever.'
Throwing fastballs (a high of 80 mph on the board) and sliders, Maier, who was having trouble throwing strikes in the bullpen, faced four batters. Dustin Pedroia, needing a home run for the cycle, hit the ball to base of the left field wall. David Ortiz doubled, but Carl Crawford was retired on a short-hopped liner to second, and Jason Varitek shattered his bat hitting a little pop back to the pitcher.
``I knew he needed a home run for the cycle. So I didn't expect anything else. I'd be doing the same thing if it was me,' Maier said. ``Off the bat, I thought it had a chance. Luckily, it stayed in.'
His manager was grateful, saying, ``He saved us from having to use another pitcher, which was huge.'
This marked the 10th time (by eight players) in Royals history a position player pitched in a game. Tony Pena Jr. was the last to do it, on July 21, 2008.
The Royals scored nine runs and had 15 hits but starter Danny Duffy and relievers Nathan Adcock (1-1), Blake Wood and Tim Collins couldn't hold down the Red Sox. Sloppy defense keyed a six-run fifth inning that put the Red Sox ahead to stay.
``I thought our offense did a phenomenal job tonight,' Yost said. ``I mean, you score nine runs, you should win the ballgame but it just wasn't enough tonight.'
David Ortiz had four hits and five RBIs, and Pedroia had four of Boston's 16 hits as Boston won for the 18th time in 22 games. Hours after the teams took a 1-1 pitcher's duel into the 14th inning and finished up at 1:59 a.m., they combined for 31 hits and 22 runs against nine pitchers who threw 402 pitches.
Alfredo Aceves (6-1) threw 3 1-3 scoreless innings in relief to improve to 20-2 in his career. Adcock (1-1) got just one out for the Royals, allowing three earned runs, three hits and three walks as Boston scored six times in the fifth inning to turn a back-and-forth game into a blowout.
Batting cleanup for the third time this season - Kevin Youkilis sat out with a hamstring injury - Pedroia had a triple, double and single in his first three at_bats but singled his next time up, in the fifth inning, walked in the sixth and hit the fly ball in the eighth. Ortiz had three doubles, and Varitek homered for Boston.
Alex Gordon and Billy Butler homered for the Royals, and Butler and Mike Aviles both had three hits. Kansas City scored twice in the ninth before Franklin Morales struck out Alcides Escobar to end it.
It was 2-2 after one inning, 4-2 Royals after two, 5-4 Boston after three and 7-6 Kansas City after four. But the Red Sox broke it open with six runs in the fifth inning, when they sent 11 batters to the plate.
Notes: Boston reached double digits in hits for the 10th straight home game. ... It was Varitek's sixth homer of the season, but his first from the right side of the plate. ... Both benches were warned after Wood hit Gonzalez in apparent retaliation for Aceves' plunking of Butler. ... Ellsbury wasn't in the starting lineup; he was supposed to get a night off as Darnell McDonald started in center. He pinch-hit in the fifth. ... Kansas City's 14-inning win Monday night marked its 18th win (of 43) in their final at-bat. The Royals lead the majors with 11 walk-off wins.
The Associated Press News Service
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