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Schilling tops Rangers for majors-leading 18th win

BOSTON (AP) -- The Boston Red Sox put themselves in great
position for a run at the AL East-leading New York Yankees with a
great homestand. Now, they'll have to take their winning ways on
the road.

Curt Schilling pitched into the ninth inning for his major
league-leading 18th win, David Ortiz hit his 35th homer and the Red
Sox held on for a 6-5 win over the Texas Rangers on Sunday.

The Red Sox, who had their 10-game winning streak snapped
Saturday, completed a 9-1 homestand and remained 2½ games behind
the Yankees. Boston, which opens a seven-game road trip Monday at
AL West-leading Oakland, has won 17 of its last 19 overall, and 12
of its last 13 at Fenway.

"Phenomenal homestand," Schilling said. "We played such good
baseball in every aspect. I just feel like we are such a good team
right now that we can win with pitching, hitting, defense, bullpen
... whatever it needs, whatever you need to do on a given night to
win, and that's what championship teams do."

Schilling (18-6) allowed three runs and five hits in 8 1/3
innings, struck out 10 and didn't walk a batter in winning his
fifth straight start. He fanned the final batter in the second
through seventh innings, and improved to 10-1 at Fenway this
season.

Boston, which gained eight games on the Yankees in 19 days,
likes its chances in the final four weeks.

"I think (gaining ground) came a little quicker than we
expected," Boston outfielder Johnny Damon said. "We'll take being
2½ behind the Yankees now."

The Yankees beat Baltimore 4-3 on Sunday.

"We did what we have to do this homestand," Boston manager
Terry Francona said. "We have to go out, take care of business and
take advantage of what we've done so far."

It was Schilling's third game this season with 10 or more
strikeouts, and 89th of his career. He was going for his fourth
complete game of the season and 83rd of his career, but Eric Young
singled with one out in the ninth and Michael Young hit his 18th
homer to end the right-hander's day.

After the fans in Fenway turned their attention to the
left-field scoreboard, chanting "Let's Go Orioles!" when the Red
Sox took a 6-1 lead, it got a little tight in the ninth.

Keith Foulke came in and gave up two runs on pinch-hitter David
Dellucci's two-run single with two outs before getting Kevin Mench
to line out to second to end it.

"We got real close at the end," Texas manager Buck Showalter
said. "Curt is not the type of guy you like to see get a run up
there early. It's that time of year. Guys like him and (Pedro)
Martinez do what they do."

Michael Young homered twice for the Rangers, who fell seven
games behind the AL wild card-leading Red Sox. It was Young's fifth
career multihomer game, and first this season.

"We met a hot Boston team with a great pitcher on the mound,"
Young said. "The best thing we can do is put this behind us."

Boston took a 1-0 lead on in the second inning when Kevin Millar
singled, advanced on Orlando Cabrera's double and scored on Bill
Mueller's groundout.

Ryan Drese (11-8) took the loss, allowing four runs and seven
hits in six innings.

The Red Sox made it 3-0 in the third. Manny Ramirez singled,
Ortiz doubled and Jason Varitek was walked intentionally to load
the bases. Drese walked Millar to force home a run and Cabrera had
a sacrifice fly.

Schilling retired the first 10 he faced before Young homered
over the Green Monster seats, cutting it to 3-1 in the fourth.

Ortiz homered in the bottom of the inning, a towering drive over
the Rangers' bullpen on a 3-0 pitch, to make it 4-1.

Gabe Kapler's bases-loaded, two-run single off reliever R. A.
Dickey made it 6-1 in the seventh.

Game notes
Ramirez wore Millar's jersey for batting practice. ...
Damon was a late scratch from the lineup, missing his third
straight game with a sore right pinkie injured diving back on an
attempted pickoff. "I'll see how I feel in BP tomorrow," Damon
said. "I still expect to play, but granted, things can change."
... Drese was coming off his worst consecutive starts of the
season, when he gave up seven and five runs.