In a six-year career of throwing unpredictable knuckleballs for a living, Tim Wakefield had never seen this.
His teammates scored four runs in the 10th, however, including two on Brian Daubach's double, to pull out a wild and memorable 9-6 victory over Kansas City Tuesday night.
"There were some workers who changed shifts in those last innings," Boston manager Jimy Williams said. "I can't say Jason Varitek had a tough night because I've seen how well he's caught that knuckleball all year long."
Boston, which has won four of five to remain one game behind Toronto in the AL wild-card race, led 5-3 in the ninth. Wakefield (4-8) quickly fanned the first two hitters and then got Johnny Damon to flail at a 3-2 pitch, but the ball got away from Varitek as Damon reached on the passed ball.
Another passed ball advanced Damon to second and Carlos Febles, who had struck out three times, tied the game with his 10th homer. Carlos Beltran then struck out, giving Wakefield part of a major league record held by many.
"I had him 0-2 (actually 1-2) and tried to bury it in the dirt and get him to swing at it," said Wakefield, who said he was disgusted at himself.
"He swung at it and it it out."
Darren Lewis and Jose Offerman had RBI singles in the 10th off Matt Whisenant (4-4), and Daubach hit a two-run double off Mac Suzuki for a 9-5 lead. Daubach was 3-for-5 with a single, double, homer and three RBIs.
Varitek agreed the knuckler was especially tough to catch. He also had a passed ball on what would have been the third out in the bottom of the 10th.
"It was moving big because I couldn't catch them," Varitek said. "You try to block it if you can."
Affter Jeremy Giambi's RBI double off Wakefield with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, Chad Kreuter then struck out but reached on a third passed ball. Rich Garces relieved Wakefield and struck out Jed Hansen to end the four-hour game.
"You have a real emotional high and then you have a real emotional low," Kansas City manager Tony Muser said. "It's tough."
Daubach and Troy O'Leary homered off Scott Service in the seventh for a 4-3 lead as the Royals' bullpen blew its 25th save chance. John Valentin homered off Jeff Montgomery in the ninth to make it 5-3.
Mike Sweeney, who went 2-for-5 and extended his hitting streak to 22, hit an RBI double in the first. Chad Kreuter hit an RBI single in the second following Joe Randa's triple, and Damon hit a run-scoring double later in the inning for a 3-0 lead.
Beltran made three outstanding plays in center field, robbing Varitek of a double and a two-run homer.
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