BOSTON -- When the Boston Red Sox need pitching help, they usually promote guys from Class AAA Pawtucket. Or occasionally AA Portland. Sunday, they received a huge boost from the Georgia Road Runners. If that team does not seem familiar, the Road Runners are a 13-and-under team from Alpharetta, Ga. Two of their players are Grayson and Colby Byrd. Their father, Paul Byrd, has been doing some batting practice pitching for the club. "The kids throw around 70 or 75 (miles per hour)," Paul Byrd said. "I was throwing about 75 to them. I only throw about 82 anyway, so it wasn't much for me to turn it up and get to where I needed to." Byrd threw often in the 85- to 87-mile-an-hour range Sunday at Fenway Park as he pitched six shutout innings in leading Boston to a 7-0 victory over Toronto. It seems like a crazy jump for someone to go from a 13-and-under team to the big leagues. But then again, Byrd's story is a crazy one. After 13 years in the majors, Byrd, who has written a book about his Christian faith, turned down what he called several nice offers from major-league teams in the spring. "My kids were getting older. It was to the point where I felt I needed to spend more time with them," Byrd said. "I've (dragged) my kids all over the country. They've never been able to play on a baseball team. I felt I needed to take some time off to be with my family." The decision was not made lightly. "It was tough. I felt like I could still bring something to the table (in the big leagues)," he said. He not only stayed with his family, he helped coach the Road Runners team. Around the All-Star break, he sought offers to return to the majors. He signed a month ago with the Red Sox with no guarantees of getting a chance to return to the majors. He was, in effect, an insurance policy, in case the Red Sox came up short of pitching. And with the club running into problems, most recently Tim Wakefield having more back issues, the Red Sox called in their insurance Sunday. It paid off handsomely. Byrd gave much of the credit to the Road Runners. "Throwing them some batting practice was like doing training without even knowing it," Byrd said. Byrd proudly showed off the Road Runners black and purple hat after the game and generally had a grand time. That is not surprising since his personality is to do that. "It's hard not to be excited around him. He creates his own excitement," manager Terry Francona said of Byrd. "He's running around patting everyone on the back. He's yelling at (Josh) Beckett, waiving to his wife. He's got all kinds of things going on." For now, it looks as if the Road Runners will have to go on without him. Byrd hopes to be in Boston until well into October.