Boston (71-61) at Oakland (76-56)

Cloudy Currently: Oakland, CA
Temp: 60° F
  • Game info: 3:35 pm EDT Wed Aug 30, 2006
  • TV: NESN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

MORTON GROVE, Ill. (AP)—Though much attention during this series has centered on Boston’s injured sluggers, a pair of star pitchers will take center stage on Wednesday.

Boston’s Curt Schilling and Oakland’s Barry Zito square off as the Athletics try for a three-game sweep of the Red Sox at McAfee Coliseum.

Schilling and Zito have faced each other only once before, on July 8, 2001. Zito allowed one run in six innings to earn the 2-1 victory, while Schilling— then with the Arizona Diamondbacks— gave up two runs in seven innings.

Schilling (14-6, 3.95 ERA) is 0-2 with a 4.94 ERA over his last four starts, and the Red Sox have lost each of those games. The six-time All-Star allowed five runs and nine hits in six innings of Friday’s 6-0 defeat at Seattle.

He struck out seven batters and finished the night one shy of becoming the 14th pitcher in baseball history with 3,000.

“It’s a pretty cool thing,” he said. “As the game went on, I felt like it probably would happen. I don’t think I tried to get strikeouts any more than I normally do.”

Schilling is 3-2 with a 3.00 ERA in 10 career appearances, including six starts, against the A’s. He has started against them twice this season, winning both times.

Zito (14-8, 3.64) won his 100th career game on Friday, allowing three runs— one earned—and two hits in 8 1-3 innings of a 9-3 victory at Texas. The left-hander did not allow a hit until Mark DeRosa led off the eighth inning with a single, and took a shutout into the ninth.

“Kind of a spoiler at the end,” Zito said. “It’s kind of frustrating. Not so much about the no-hitter, but to give up runs late. But we had a good lead, and the team won.”

Zito became the fourth Oakland pitcher with 100 wins, joining Catfish Hunter (131), Vida Blue (124) and Dave Stewart (119).

The 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner is 4-5 with a 5.08 ERA in 12 career starts against Boston. He gave up seven runs in five innings of a 7-3 loss in his last outing against the Red Sox on July 24.

The Red Sox (71-61) have dropped five straight, including Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat, and are 7 1/2 games behind the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East. Boston, which is 8-20 in August, has not trailed by more in the division since an eight-game deficit on Aug. 18, 2004.

The Red Sox announced during the Tuesday’s game that slugger David Ortiz had been hospitalized in Boston for the second time this month. Ortiz felt heart palpitations about 10 days ago and again before Monday night’s game in Oakland, causing him to be a late scratch.

“We really don’t feel he’s going to keel over,” manager Terry Francona said. “He was tested the other night. A lot of people have these things. … He has to know that he is fine. We’re not going to jeopardize his health.”

Boston also sent outfielders Manny Ramirez and Wily Mo Pena to Boston for medical tests on Tuesday. Ramirez has missed four of Boston’s last five games because of a sore right knee, and Pena has missed the last three with a left wrist injury.

The Athletics (76-56) have won eight of 10 and are 7 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Los Angeles Angels in the AL West. They haven’t led the division by more since they were 8 1/2 games ahead on Sept. 25, 1992.

Oakland won its eighth in a row at home Tuesday, matching its longest run of the season.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Schilling Bos vs. B. Zito SF
15-7 Record 16-10
3.97 ERA 3.83
183 K 151
28 BB 99
1.22 WHIP 1.40

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Aug 30