Series: Game 1 of 3

Kansas City leads 1-0 (as of 6/4)

Game 1: Friday, June 4
Kansas City5
Game 2: Saturday, June 5
Kansas City4
Game 3: Sunday, June 6
Kansas City3

Red Sox 2

(31-23, 13-14 away)

Royals 5

(20-32, 13-12 home)

    8:10 PM ET, June 4, 2004

    Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri 

    123456789 R H E
    BOS 000002000 2 6 0
    KC 11012000 - 5 11 0

    W: J. Gobble (3-3)

    L: T. Wakefield (4-4)

    S: J. Affeldt (6)

    Red Sox lose fourth straight

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The Boston Red Sox may not like hearing this, but Jimmy Gobble has had even better outings.

    The 22-year-old rookie left-hander retired 15 consecutive batters after Johnny Damon's leadoff double in the first and led the Kansas City Royals to a 5-2 victory Friday night.

    "I don't think it's the best I've pitched," said Gobble (3-3), who gave up five hits and two runs in six innings.

    "But as far as legs and body-wise, I felt good and I felt like I was throwing the ball where I wanted to for the most part. The sixth inning got a little rocky, but I battled out of it."

    Jeremy Affeldt pitched a perfect ninth for his sixth save in seven chances as the Red Sox lost their fourth in a row -- and sixth in eight games -- and fell to a season-worst 3{ games behind first-place New York in the AL East.

    "This is no fun," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "You show up tomorrow and you grind through it and make good things happen. Right now, we're just not quite doing that. If we stay at it, we will because we have the ability to be a good team."

    After Damon led off with a double and was stranded at third, Gobble didn't allow another baserunner until Doug Mirabelli homered leading off the sixth.

    Tim Wakefield (4-4) went 6 2-3 innings and was charged with five runs on nine hits as his career record against Kansas City dropped to 9-4.

    "I'm just not making good pitches right now," the veteran knuckleballer said. "It felt like the ball was moving all right. It wasn't moving like it's supposed to. I just wasn't making good pitches when I needed to."

    Angel Berroa drove in two runs with a single and a triple, Carlos Beltran had two singles for his fourth straight multihit game and Ken Harvey stretched his career-best hitting streak to 13 games in a row for the Royals.

    Harvey, who entered tied with Baltimore's Melvin Mora for the AL batting lead at .379, singled to load the bases with no outs in the fifth. The Royals then got two runs to go up 5-0 when Wakefield walked Matt Stairs and gave up an RBI single to Joe Randa. Harvey was 1-for-4 and dropped to .376.

    "I don't see the ball very well off Wakefield, to be honest with you," Harvey said. "For me, it's very, very difficult. When you think it's where it is, it's not. It looks like a good pitch to hit and then it just seems to disappear."

    With one out in the sixth, Damon and Mark Bellhorn singled and David Ortiz followed with a double into center. Damon scored easily to make cut the deficit to 5-2, but Bellhorn was trapped between home and third and tagged out.

    Francona said Gobble "was impressive"

    "He used his offspeed pitches and set up his fastball with his offspeed," he said. "He got far enough into the game where they could use the guys they wanted to."

    Beltran had an RBI single in the first. Benito Santiago made it 2-0 in the second when he slid around catcher Mirabelli's tag to score from second on Berroa's single into center. In the fourth, Berroa's RBI triple put the Royals on top 3-0.

    Game notes

    Royals manager Tony Pena celebrated his 47th birthday Friday. ... Gobble took care of the Red Sox 1-2-3 on seven pitches in the top of the third, and Wakefield needed only nine tosses to do the same thing in the bottom of the inning. ... The Red Sox were playing their fourth opponent in three cities and three time zones in a five-game span. ... Berroa barely missed a grand slam in the fifth when his drive into left curved foul. ... Boston had won 10 of 12 from Kansas City. ... Boston SS Nomar Garciaparra was 1-for-4 in a rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday. The Red Sox hope to have him in the lineup early next week for the first time this season. ... At 13-14, the Red Sox fell below .500 on the road.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press