Red Sox 11, Yankees 4
BOSTON (AP)—The Red Sox ended their home season in typical fashion with another brilliant performance by Curt Schilling and another bench-clearing confrontation with the Yankees.
Schilling (21-6) allowed one hit in seven innings Sunday when Boston beat New York 11-4 and knocked Kevin Brown out in the first inning of his return from a broken hand.
The Red Sox (93-62) won 11 of 19 from the Yankees (97-59) to take the season series for the first time in five years and cut New York’s AL East lead to 3 1/2 games with one week to play.
“We probably play them too much,” Boston’s Johnny Damon said with a smile. “There’s too much anxiety brewing.”
In the bottom half, New York pitcher Brad Halsey and manager Joe Torre were ejected after Halsey threw a pitch high and tight to Dave Roberts, causing the benches and bullpens to clear. Players were kept apart.
“Tensions run high when we play the Red Sox, but I don’t think it affects the way we play,” said Halsey, who denied throwing at Roberts.
Schilling, who leads the major leagues in wins, is 12-1 at Fenway this season, the first since Boston acquired him from Arizona. He’s won eight straight decisions for the first time in his major league career.
“Our offense took a lot of suspense out of this game early,” he said.
Boston scored four runs in the first off Brown (10-5), who got just two outs, then made it 7-0 in the second against Esteban Loaiza, who allowed seven runs in 4 2-3 innings.
After losing Friday’s opener, Boston won the last two games. A week earlier, the Red Sox won on Friday in New York then lost the next two by 10 runs each.
“It’s a heated rivalry,” Roberts said. “There’s respect between the teams, but there’s definitely no love lost.”
The Red Sox have seven games left and likely will wind up with the AL wild-card berth—they lead Anaheim by six games. They could meet the Yankees for the second straight year in the AL championship series.
“It’s like a disagreement in a family,” New York manager Joe Torre said. “You address it, it’s over with and you go on loving somebody.”
Schilling struck out six and matched his season-high with four walks. He retired his first 10 batters, then walked the next three in the fourth, when he allowed a two-run single up the middle to Jorge Posada that made it 7-2.
“I should have caught that ball,” said Schilling, who blamed himself for the walks. “I threw 12 straight balls and I only thought one was a strike. Last time I did it, it was the umpire’s fault. This time, it wasn’t.”
Astacio relieved to start the eighth and was ejected when he threw his second pitch behind Lofton, who was involved in the game’s first dispute when he elbowed first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz on a groundout to second in the third inning.
“It happened in Cleveland, too,” when Lofton played there, Mientkiewicz said. “There’s 700 players in the league. For some reason, he’s the only one I get elbowed by.”
“I was trying to get out of the way,” Lofton said. “I said to him, `Why don’t you get out of the way?’ “
Brown made his first appearance since Sept. 3, when he broke his left hand when he punched a clubhouse wall after leaving a 3-1 loss to Baltimore. On Sunday, his pitching hand was the problem.
After Brown retired leadoff hitter Damon, he allowed hits to the next five batters. Mark Bellhorn singled, Manny Ramirez doubled and both scored on David Ortiz’s double. Trot Nixon doubled in Ortiz and scored on Varitek’s single for a 4-0 lead.
“The only way you’re going to find out about Brownie is to put him out there,” said Torre, who is trying to decide whether to include him in his playoff rotation and plans to use him later this week.
Ramirez hit a sacrifice fly in the second and Varitek had an RBI infield single, with another run scoring on a throwing error by shortstop Derek Jeter.
Because of Hurricane Jeanne, the Red Sox delayed their flight to Florida until Monday morning. They open a three-game series Monday night against Tampa Bay. … The Red Sox, who drew a record 2,837,304 at Fenway, completed their home schedule by selling out all 81 games. The only other teams to do that were Cleveland (1996 through 2000), Colorado (1996) and San Francisco (2000). … The Red Sox are 23-22 against New York from the start of last season, including the playoffs. … Boston’s 55-26 home record is the second best in the majors behind the Yankees (54-24).