Red Sox 5, Devil Rays 2

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BOSTON (AP)—Red Sox closer Curt Schilling is starting to look like the pitcher who anchored the staff in a different role last year.

The 38-year-old ace-turned-reliever earned his 14th career save—his first since 1992—pitching a scoreless ninth for the second consecutive night to seal Boston’s 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

“The more he pitches, we’re going to get closer and closer to seeing Schill, and that’s what we want,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “Teams are going to have to beat him, and I don’t think that will happen a lot.”

Manny Ramirez hit his 25th homer and Bronson Arroyo scattered five hits over seven innings to help the Red Sox snap a three-game losing streak that dropped them out of first place in the AL East. The Red Sox moved back into first place when the Texas Rangers beat the New York Yankees 2-1 later Tuesday night.

The victory came amid a flurry of roster moves in which Boston added infielder Tony Graffanino and outfielder Adam Hyzdu and designated reliever Alan Embree for assignment.

“We’re a very close group of guys. You hate to see that happen to anybody,” Schilling said of Embree, who was on the mound when the Red Sox closed out their epic comeback against the Yankees to win the AL pennant last year. “I’m sure he’ll catch on real fast somewhere else.”

Making his fourth relief appearance since going on the disabled list with a bruised ankle in April, Schilling struck out Jonny Gomes before getting Fernando Cortez and Toby Hall on flyouts.

“I enjoy it, and it’s a rush,” Schilling said of closing, which he hadn’t done since he was with the Phillies in 1992. “But whatever they need me to do, I’ll do.”

Among those mentioned in trade talks is Arroyo (8-5), who allowed two runs and one walk while striking out three. He gave up two singles in the first and then held the Devil Rays hitless until there were two outs in the sixth.

“We had some chances early in the ballgame,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. “We didn’t quite get it done.”

Casey Fossum (4-8) allowed three runs—two earned—six hits and a walk before leaving with leg cramps after 4 2-3. Carl Crawford doubled to lead off the eighth inning of a 3-2 game but was picked off by Mike Timlin and second baseman Alex Cora.

It was another adventurous day in the field for Ramirez, one night after he lingered too long inside the Green Monster scoreboard during a break and almost missed a pitch. Ramirez was late getting onto the field at the start of the game—tripping on the dugout step, then dropping his glove, when he finally went to join his teammates in the field.

In the first, the left fielder called off shortstop Edgar Renteria on Crawford’s popup but didn’t get to the ball, and it fell in for a single. Crawford scored on Jorge Cantu’s single to give the Devil Rays a 1-0 lead.

Boston tied it in the bottom half when David Ortiz doubled and scored, and Ramirez homered in the fourth to give Boston a 2-1 lead. The Red Sox had three consecutive singles to score another run in the fifth, when Fossum cramped up.

“You never know what Manny’s going to do next. He’s a fun guy to have on the team, just to see what’s going to happen next with him,” said Fossum, who came up with the Red Sox. “Nothing out of the ordinary, from what I’ve seen with Manny.”

Boston added two in the eighth on an RBI single Bill Mueller and John Olerud’s groundout.

Notes

Schilling went 375 games, 368 starts and 2,667 innings between saves. … Ramirez has hit at least 25 homers in 11 consecutive seasons. He passed Darrell Evans and moved into 37th place alone on the all-time list with 415 career homers. … The start was delayed 15 minutes because of rain. … With wins in four of their first five games since the All-Star break, the Devil Rays clinched their first winning trip since 2004. … During his 29-game hitting streak, Johnny Damon’s his average went up just .003, from .339 to .342.

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