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MLB-worst Royals continue dominance of Red Sox

BOSTON (AP) -- Kansas City has the worst record in baseball this
season yet keeps beating recently contending Boston, which has the
worst record since Aug. 5.

The Royals won their fifth straight game over the Red Sox when
Jeff Keppinger's three-run homer broke a tie in the six-run 12th
inning that gave Kansas City a 10-4 victory Saturday night.

"The Sox are still a powerhouse, one of the most feared teams
in baseball," Kansas City's Mike Sweeney said. "To beat them two
straight here is a huge feat. I can't ever remember playing as well
as we have against the Red Sox."

Kansas City improved to 54-89 one night after winning 10-9 with
two runs in the ninth. Boston fell to 75-67, is 10-24 since Aug. 5
and trails Minnesota by 7½ games in the AL wild-card standings.

The Royals "might not have the record that dictates they should
beat us but they have good players over there," Boston's Coco
Crisp said.

The winning streak is their longest against Boston since they
won six straight from Aug. 1, 1996 to July 31, 1997.

Kansas City had squandered leads of 2-0 and 4-2 one night after
blowing an 8-3 lead when Boston also scored six runs in one inning,
the eighth. On Saturday, David DeJesus started the winning rally
with a leadoff double off Craig Breslow (0-1).

Manny Delcarmen replaced Breslow and retired Esteban German
before walking Mark Grudzielanek intentionally. Then Keppinger, who
entered the game in the 10th as a pinch runner, went to the
opposite field and just cleared the low fence 302-feet down the
right-field line.

"I was looking for something up that I could get out of the
infield," Keppinger said. "I was hoping for a sacrifice fly and
it turned out to be a lot better."

Keppinger, obtained from the New York Mets organization on July
19, got his first hit for the Royals and fourth of his career. His
last homer came Sept. 10, 2004 with the Mets.

Delcarmen also struggled Friday night, giving up three runs in
2/3 of an inning.

"I was trying to go down and away. I thought it was a good
pitch," he said. "I feel like right now even if I make a good
pitch something [bad] happens."

The Royals followed the homer by loading the bases when Ryan
Shealy doubled and John Buck and Joey Gathright were hit by
pitches. Andres Blanco followed with a bases-clearing double.

Joe Nelson (1-0) got his first major league win with 1 1/3
scoreless innings.

"We're young but we're starting to learn how to win the close
games," he said.

Before Keppinger's homer, the Royals executed a double steal
that put runners at second and third with one out and eliminated
the chance for a routine double play.

"You've got a team on the ropes, all of a sudden it turns into
a blowout," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "We're holding
the runner at second, he takes off, and you know Manny's going to
have to realize that it's in the part of the game they can do that.
It changes the game significantly."

The Royals took a 2-0 lead on RBI singles by Gathright in the
second and Grudzielanek in the third.

The Red Sox tied it in the fourth, when Luke Hudson threw 41
pitches, but wasted a chance for a bigger inning when two runners
were thrown out at home. Dustin Pedroia led off with his first
homer and Doug Mirabelli added an RBI single.

Kansas City went ahead 4-2 in the fifth against Josh Beckett,
scoring on Grudzielanek's groundout and Shane Costa's double.

Boston tied it again in the seventh when Mike Lowell reached
second on a walk and a wild pitch and Mark Loretta walked.
Pinch-hitter Wily Mo Pena smacked the first pitch for a run-scoring
ground-rule double to center and Kevin Youkilis made it 4-4 with
his major-league leading 11th sacrifice fly.

The Red Sox wasted opportunities in extra innings, leaving two
runners on base in the 10th, one in the 11th and two in the 12th.

Game Notes
Patrice Bergeron, the Boston Bruins leading scorer last
season, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... German's two
doubles gave him three in the first two games of the series. ...
Manny Ramirez went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and is 2-for-16 in
five games since returning to the lineup after missing 10 of 11
games with a sore knee. ... Youkilis is one shy of the team record
of 12 sacrifice flies accomplished three times, the last in 1959 by
Jackie Jensen.