Schilling will try to become the majors’ first 18-game winner when Boston closes out a three-game series with the Texas Rangers at Fenway Park.
Boston saw its 10-game winning streak end with Saturday’s 8-6 loss to Texas.
The Red Sox, who had won 16 of 17 to climb within 2 1/2 games of first-place New York in the AL East, didn’t lose any ground as the Yankees lost to Baltimore on Saturday. Had the Red Sox won, they could have pulled within 1 1/2 games for the first time since June 2, when they began the day just one game back.
The winning streak was Boston’s longest since it reeled off 12 straight from Aug. 3-14, 1995, the year the Red Sox last won the division. Since then, New York has won seven of eight division crowns, including the last six straight with Boston finishing second each time.
The Red Sox had picked up eight games on the Yankees in the previous 19 days.
Schilling has won his last five starts, including a 10-7 victory over Anaheim on Tuesday. The right-hander has been virtually unbeatable at Fenway Park this year, going 9-1 in 14 starts. The Red Sox have won 12 of the 14 games he has started at home this year.
Schilling is tied with Oakland’s Mark Mulder for the major league-lead with 17 victories. Mulder failed in his bid to get his 18th win Saturday.
Boston didn’t let its winning streak end without a fight. Mark Bellhorn hit his second career grand slam and David Ortiz added a solo shot for Boston, which rallied from an 8-1 deficit with a five-run seventh.
“Right now we’ve got a lot of confidence,” Boston’s Kevin Millar said. “We were down 8-1 in the seventh inning and then all of a sudden we made a game of it.”
The Rangers ended a 25-inning scoreless streak with a three-run second. Kevin Mench had an RBI single, Laynce Nix contributed a run-scoring grounder and Rod Barajas added an RBI single, making it 3-0.