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Red Sox overcome shaky start to take down Angels

BOSTON (AP) -- The Boston Red Sox are getting what they need from
their starting pitchers: long outings and strong performances.

Bronson Arroyo became the fourth Boston pitcher in five games to
pitch at least eight innings, and the Red Sox overcame a three-run
deficit with the help of David Ortiz's two-run single to beat the
Los Angeles Angels 6-3 Wednesday night.

"You go eight innings, you are doing something really well,"
manager Terry Francona said.

During Boston's last five games, Arroyo and Matt Clement each
went eight innings, and David Wells and Tim Wakefield pitched
complete games.

Curt Schilling was the only member of the current rotation to
fall short of eight innings in his last start, but showed
improvement in working 6 1/3 innings in Monday's 5-3 loss to the
Chicago White Sox.

"You kind of feed off each other," said Arroyo (12-9).
"You're thinking about Wakefield going nine last night. ... I'm
sitting down on the bench thinking the same thing, trying to get
deep in the game."

Mike Timlin got three outs for his seventh save, but a rotation
battered by injuries to Schilling and Wade Miller and inconsistency
earlier in the season is just where Francona wants it with 24 games
left. Boston maintained its four-game lead over the New York
Yankees in the AL East.

"Obviously, early in April we didn't" let pitchers go as deep
into games, Francona said. "We don't want them to get into the dog
days of September and have them dragging. So we really try to
monitor them closely."

Ervin Santana (8-7) gave up all six of Boston's runs.

Ortiz, whose homer in the bottom of the ninth gave Boston a 3-2
win in Tuesday night's series opener, tied the game with his single
in the third, one pitch after he appeared to swing his bat far
enough for a third strike. It was ruled a ball and, after third
base umpire Larry Young upheld the call by plate umpire Fieldin
Culbreth, Angels manager Mike Scioscia yelled from the dugout and
was ejected.

The hit followed walks to Alex Cora and Johnny Damon and a
single by Edgar Renteria that dropped between three fielders in
short center field. After Ortiz's single gave him a major-league
leading 122 RBI, Trot Nixon broke the tie with a double.

"The two walks and the ball in center field that dropped
obviously were bigger contributors in that inning than the missed
call on the check swing," Scioscia said.

Santana (8-7) worked four innings, dropping to 1-4 with a 9.00
ERA on the road. He's 7-3 with a 3.30 ERA at home.

"It's the same ballgame," Santana said. "I don't know what
happened. I try to do my job on the road, too."

Arroyo gave up three runs and five hits in the first two innings
then allowed just three singles in the next six. He even retired
the first two batters in each of the first two innings before
getting into trouble and finished with two strikeouts and no walks.

"He really turned it around and he became aggressive,"
Francona said.

The Red Sox improved to 10-3 on their season-long 14-game
homestand, winning for the third time when trailing by three runs
or more. They're a season-high 26 games over .500 and start a
three-game series Friday night at Yankee Stadium.

The Angels, with just 26 runs in their last nine games, lost
their fifth straight road game and their 11th in their last 12 at
Fenway Park. Their AL West lead was cut to a half-game over
Oakland, which overcame a four-run, ninth-inning deficit to beat
Seattle.

"We have to step up and try to win games like that, close
games," shortstop Orlando Cabrera said. "You don't have to get
seven, eight runs every night."

Arroyo fell behind 2-0 in the first when Vladimir Guerrero
tripled in a run and scored on Darin Erstad's single. Cabrera's RBI
single made it 3-0 in the second. Then Arroyo retired 18 of the
remaining 21 batters he faced without allowing any runners past
second base.

The last three hits off Arroyo were singles by Casey Kotchman in
the fourth and sixth, and by Jeff DaVanon in the sixth. DaVanon
also doubled off Timlin

Kevin Millar's ninth homer of the season made it 3-1 in the
second, an inning in which Santana struck out the side.

Santana gave up Boston's last two runs in the fourth on a walk
to Bill Mueller, a triple by Cora and a sacrifice fly by Damon.

Game notes
DaVanon started in center field for Los Angeles and went
2-for-4. It was his second appearance in 15 games. ... Adam Kennedy
went 0-for-3 and is 4-for-44 in his last 14 games. ... Boston's
48-21 home record is the best in the majors.