BOSTON — A comeback win kept the Red Sox in first place. Staying there could be tougher if Tim Wakefield is sidelined.
A back injury ended the knuckleballer's outing after four innings Monday night, and Boston rallied from a four-run deficit for a 5-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals capped by Manny Ramirez's sacrifice fly in the eighth inning.
Wakefield, whose start was delayed a day so he could rest his back, will undergo tests on his strained upper back today, and Manager Terry Francona said "I guess I'm still hoping" he doesn't go on the disabled list.
Two other starters, Matt Clement and David Wells, already are on the disabled list.
The win meant the Red Sox stayed half a game in front of the New York Yankees in the American League East.
Mike Timlin (5-0) pitched a perfect eighth, and Jonathan Papelbon worked the ninth for his 27th save in 30 opportunities. Joel Peralta (1-2) was the loser as the Royals lost for the sixth time in seven games.
Kansas City suffered its major-league-high 20th blown save.
"We just can't seem to make a pitch when we need to," Kansas City Manager Buddy Bell said.