Schilling strong in BoSox win

Associated Press
Published April 4, 2006

ARLINGTON, Texas - Curt Schilling looked a lot like his old self in his first opening day start in seven years. The debut of new Texas ace Kevin Millwood was a bust.

David Ortiz went 3-for-5 with a towering two-run home run and Boston captain Jason Varitek had a two-run double in the Red Sox's 7-3 victory over the Rangers on Monday. Boston won on opening day for the first time since 2000.

While the Red Sox had six different players in the starting lineup from opening day in 2005, they still used the same formula that has worked so well for them in recent years: big hits and solid pitching.

The Red Sox scored six runs with two outs. They got the first five runs off Millwood, the AL ERA champion who signed a $60-million, five-year deal with Texas after also being pursued by the Red Sox.

New Boston third baseman Mike Lowell led off the eighth with a home run. He had a career-low eight homers last season in Florida, and the Marlins made him and his $9-million salary part of a multiplayer deal that sent him and right-hander Josh Beckett to Boston.

New Red Sox centerfielder Coco Crisp didn't take long to make a good impression either, with a nice running catch at the wall of Laynce Nix's sacrifice fly in the ninth. Crisp replaced the popular Johnny Damon, who left for the Yankees.

Schilling struck out five and allowed two runs over seven innings and 117 pitches. He walked one and allowed only one extra-base hit, a two-run homer by Hank Blalock.

Schilling began last season on the disabled list after surgery to repair a tendon in his right ankle. Schilling bruised that ankle after coming back and went on the DL another 21/2 months before returning as a closer. He went 8-8 with nine saves and a 5.69 ERA - more than two runs above his career mark.

While saying all spring that he felt good, Schilling knew he had to prove it on the mound. He got off to a good start, pitching a season opener for the first time since 1999 when he was with Philadelphia.

Millwood, who had a 2.86 ERA last season in Cleveland, gave up five runs on seven hits while throwing 89 pitches in five innings. That was longer than the right-hander threw in any game this spring.