A's stop Red Sox, tighten races

Curt Schilling's poor outing puts Boston in a hole that it can't escape.

Associated Press
Published September 16, 2005

BOSTON - Mark Kotsay singled in two runs before Curt Schilling recorded his first out, and Mark Ellis also drove in a pair of runs for Oakland as the Athletics beat the Red Sox 6-2 Thursday night to tighten two division races.

The A's moved into a tie for first with the Los Angeles Angels, who lost to Detroit, in the West. East-leading Boston leads the New York Yankees by 11/2 games. New York had not been that close since Aug. 29.

"If we don't play well, we're not going to get to the playoffs and we won't play deep into October," Red Sox centerfielder Johnny Damon said. "It's ours to lose. There's a lot of teams fighting for spots."

Joe Blanton returned to his stingy ways, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out three in 61/3 innings. Before giving up four runs in his last outing, he had allowed two or fewer in nine consecutive starts.

"(Schilling) threw the ball very well for a span of four innings and kept them in the game," A's manager Ken Macha said. "But our guy was pretty good."

Schilling gave up a double and two singles on his first five pitches, then gave up another run on three straight singles the second inning. In all, he allowed four runs on 11 hits and three walks in 62/3 innings.

It was the fewest strikeouts he has had in a start this year.

"I was just frustrated with the whole situation," Schilling said.

Ellis slapped Schilling's first pitch of the game to centerfield. Jason Kendall doubled, then Kotsay drove them in on a single to center. Ellis drove in Nick Swisher in the second to make it 3-0.

Damon, who had been out three games with a sore shoulder, doubled and scored on David Ortiz's sacrifice fly in the sixth to make it 3-1. Manny Ramirez hit a hard liner that was kept in play by the Green Monster and resulted in a single.

After a wild pitch, Blanton walked Trot Nixon but then struck out Jason Varitek to end the inning. Boston put runners on second and third with one out in the seventh before Ricardo Rincon came in to give up Damon's run-scoring groundout. Justin Duchscherer got Edgar Renteria on a grounder to first to end the inning.