Tampa Bay at Boston

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Tampa Bay000010000174
Boston «10701000x990

Schilling strikes out seven against Devil Rays, improves to 4-0

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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BOSTON -- Curt Schilling heard the talk that the end of his career might be near. Now, he's off to his best start ever.

Schilling opened a season with four straight winning starts for the first time, breezing through six innings and striking out seven to lead the Boston Red Sox over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 9-1 Wednesday night.

"That's part of the rush of being in the big leagues, people write you off," he said.

Backed by Boston's season-high, seven-run third inning, Schilling (4-0) allowing one run and six hits in lowering his ERA from 1.64 to 1.61. He tied Jim Bunning for 15th on the strikeouts list at 2,855 when he fanned Jonny Gomes in the sixth, but didn't feel like it was one of his better outings.

"I feel good. I feel like I'm past all the tough times," he said. "I don't feel like I've gone out there with everything working. It's all about consistency."

Schilling started with four wins twice before in his career, but with no-decisions mixed in each time. He was 4-0 with Philadelphia in 1995 and 5-0 with Arizona in 2001.

Manager Terry Francona thinks Schilling's surgically repaired right ankle, operated on after he helped the Red Sox win the 2004 World Series, is fine and Schilling is back to his prior form.

"He's always been consistent," Francona said. "You don't last this long and be as good as he has without being consistent."

Kevin Youkilis had a solo homer and two singles, and Mark Loretta, Trot Nixon and Mike Lowell each had two hits for the Red Sox, who won for the 10th time in 13 games.

Doug Waechter (0-1) gave up seven runs -- six earned -- five hits and three walks in 2 2/3 innings. Tampa Bay, which has lost eight straight at Fenway Park, made a season-high four errors.

Youkilis homered on Waechter's fourth pitch, and Boston blew open the game in the third.

Center fielder Joey Gathright made a run-scoring throwing error, Nixon hit an RBI single, Jason Varitek had a sacrifice fly and Lowell hit a two-run double. Another run scored when reliever Jason Childers dropped first baseman Travis Lee's throw while covering the base on Adam Stern's grounder.

"In the third inning it kind of snowballed on me," Waechter said.

That was certainly more than enough offense for Schilling.

"He has probably been a little bit sharper this year," Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "But his velocity was there when he needed it, his breaking pitches were there when he needed them."

Schilling, 8-8 in 11 starts last season, knew some thought the 39-year-old was getting too old to dominate.

"I love stuff like that," he said. "Unfortunately, that's how people go through other peoples' lives. Before the season, I read what was written."

Devil Rays left fielder Ty Wigginton made errors on consecutive plays in the fifth; the second came when he dropped Alex Gonzalez's sacrifice fly that made it 9-1. The other was when he bobbled Lowell's single.

Gathright had an RBI single for the Devil Rays in the fifth.

Notes

  • Manny Ramirez is in the midst of his longest homerless drought to open a season, currently 51 at-bats. Last year, was his previous longest, with Ramirez connecting in his 39th.
  • Tampa Bay LF Carl Crawford was scratched from the starting lineup about 2½ hours before the game. He injured his right shoulder diving for a ball in Tuesday's loss.
  • Youkilis had the first leadoff homer for Boston since Johnny Damon last Aug. 25.
  • The Devil Rays had just six errors on the season coming in.
  • Stern, selected by the Red Sox in the 2004 winter-meeting draft, talked after the game like a person who knew he'd be going to Triple-A Pawtucket soon. "It's cool," he said. "You want to play every day." He's eligible to go to the minors Thursday, but Francona wouldn't confirm any decision when asked after the game.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Curt Schilling's four straight victories to open the season is a first in his career.  (AP)
Curt Schilling's four straight victories to open the season is a first in his career. (AP)

Players of the Game
Boston

M. Lowell
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
Tampa Bay

J. Gathright
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Joey Gathright, CF4021021 .222
Jorge Cantu, 2B3010111 .256
Travis Lee, 1B4010034 .231
Jonny Gomes, DH4000031 .292
Sean Burroughs, 3B4000010 .000
Ty Wigginton, LF4010020 .286
Toby Hall, C4110001 .341
Damon Hollins, RF4010001 .314
Tomas Perez, SS2000001 .303
    Nick Green, SS1000001 .111
Totals3417111211 
Batting
2B - Joey Gathright (2, Schilling), Travis Lee (3, Schilling), Toby Hall (5, Schilling), Damon Hollins (4, Seanez)
RBI - Joey Gathright (2)
2-OUT RBI - Joey Gathright (1)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Cantu-Green-Lee
E - Jason Childers (1, Missed catch), Joey Gathright (1, Wild throw), Ty Wigginton 2 (3, Misplayed batted ball)
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Doug Waechter (L,0-1) 2.2576321 7.30
Jason Childers 2.1420130 5.40
Ruddy Lugo 2000100 6.14
Dan Miceli 1000100 8.10
IBB - Ortiz by Doug Waechter
WP - Jason Childers (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Doug Waechter 55-30, Jason Childers 68-41, Ruddy Lugo 22-13, Dan Miceli 11-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Doug Waechter 1-5, Jason Childers 2-4, Ruddy Lugo 1-4, Dan Miceli 1-2
Batters Faced - Doug Waechter 16, Jason Childers 14, Ruddy Lugo 6, Dan Miceli 4
Boston Red Sox
Kevin Youkilis, 1B4232011 .354
    J.T. Snow, 1B1000000 .167
Mark Loretta, 2B5120002 .267
    Alex Cora, 2B0000000 .167
David Ortiz, DH3100222 .316
Manny Ramirez, LF1100310 .255
    Dustan Mohr, PR-LF1000001 .200
Trot Nixon, RF4121002 .379
Jason Varitek, C3001001 .227
Mike Lowell, 3B4222000 .294
Adam Stern, CF4100001 .150
Alex Gonzalez, SS2001110 .196
Totals329976510 
Batting
2B - Mike Lowell (8, Waechter)
HR - Kevin Youkilis (1, Waechter)
SF - Jason Varitek (1), Alex Gonzalez (1)
RBI - Kevin Youkilis 2 (10), Trot Nixon (8), Jason Varitek (6), Mike Lowell 2 (6), Alex Gonzalez (4)
2-OUT RBI - Kevin Youkilis (6), Mike Lowell 2 (2)
Team LOB - 7
Boston Red Sox
Curt Schilling (W,4-0) 6611170 1.61
Rudy Seanez 1100020 9.00
Julian Tavarez 1000020 2.25
Keith Foulke 1000010 4.32
WP - Curt Schilling (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Curt Schilling 108-67, Rudy Seanez 17-12, Julian Tavarez 13-9, Keith Foulke 14-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Curt Schilling 6-5
Batters Faced - Curt Schilling 25, Rudy Seanez 4, Julian Tavarez 3, Keith Foulke 3
Game Information
Attendance - 36454
Game Time - 2:55
Temperature - 71
Umpires - Home - Dan Iassogna, First Base - James Hoye, Second Base - Ron Kulpa, Third Base - Dale Scott