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McClung starts bad then can't recover
RED SOX 6, RAYS 4: Curt Schilling earns his 200th win by shutting down a frustrated squad.
By MARC TOPKIN
Published May 28, 2006
Joe Maddon, left, first base coach George Hendrick, center, and Aubrey Huff argue with umpire Bruce Froemming after Froemming called Huff out on a close play Saturday. Huff was ejected from the game.
BOSTON - Seth McClung got the warmup act down Saturday. It was the pitching part that caused him problems.
McClung's ineffectiveness against a depleted Red Sox lineup and Curt Schilling's ability to rise to the occasion of his 200th career victory made for another long night for the Devil Rays and another loss at Fenway Park 6-4.
The Rays are 1-5 on their seasonlong 10-game, 11-day trip, and their frustrations are beginning to show. Aubrey Huff was ejected after arguing an eighth-inning call at first base that went against him, and manager Joe Maddon seemed to be more animated than usual in arguing that call and an earlier one at third.
McClung was criticized by Maddon and pitching coach Joe Maddon after being late to warm up for his start Monday in Toronto, with the poor preparation considered a reason for allowing five runs in the first three innings (a 6-4 loss).
He recovered to retire 15 straight and said he learned from the experience. But Saturday, he struggled with his command and allowed five runs over the first two innings while throwing 56 pitches.
McClung lasted only five innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits and five walks.
His biggest mistake came after intentionally walking David Ortiz to load the bases, giving up a two-run double to Trot Nixon. He made it worse with a wild pitch that allowed Ortiz to lumber home and slide across the plate.
"I just think the ball didn't bounce my way," McClung said. "It wasn't that I pitched bad. It wasn't that I pitched great. Sometimes, the ball kicks your way, and sometimes it doesn't."
After McClung allowed a run in the first, the Rays rallied for a 2-1 lead in the second on doubles by Ty Wigginton and Greg Norton and a single by Josh Paul.
But McClung handed it right back by allowing four more runs in the second, marking the major-league leading 33rd time (among 50 games) the Rays have surrendered a lead.
He allowed another run in a messy fourth, unable to take advantage of a lineup missing slugger Manny Ramirez, who torments the Rays on a regular basis, and two other starters, centerfielder Wily Mo Pena and shortstop Alex Gonzalez.
Schilling became the 104th major-leaguer with 200 wins, including seven active: Greg Maddux (323), Tom Glavine (283), Randy Johnson (269), Mike Mussina (230), David Wells (227), Jamie Moyer (207) and Pedro Martinez (202).
He won his first game for Baltimore on July 11, 1990, beating Kansas City's Steve Farr; his 50th for Philadelphia on Sept. 5, 1996, over Chicago Cub Frank Castillo; his 100th for Philadelphia on May 6, 2000, over Atlanta's Kevin Millwood; and his 150th for Arizona on July 27, 2002, over San Diego's Brian Lawrence.
Schilling beat the Devil Rays for nine of his wins, including eight of his past 35.
Rookie Jonathan Papelbon finished for his 18th save in 18 opportunities, extending his major-league record for success at the start of a season.
Ramirez, who has a major-league high 40 doubles, 36 homers and 116 RBIs against the Rays, missed his first game of the season with a sore back. And Pena was scratched with a sore wrist.
That left the Sox with Kevin Youkilis making his major-league outfield debut in left and Willie Harris in center.