Red Sox 9, Yankees 3

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NEW YORK (AP)—For Curt Schilling, his ninth victory of the season Thursday night was another strange outing. Eight innings pitched, four hits allowed, three of them home runs in a 9-3 Boston victory over the New York Yankees.

It left him pleased but puzzled.

“It was another weird game,” Schilling said. “I go through periods like that and it’s no singles. That’s the way it’s going. Mentally, I’m trying to stay positive. I’m still searching.”

Schilling became the first nine-game winner in the American League, riding a 15-hit Boston attack to an easy victory. Jason Varitek drove in four runs, three of them on a home run that broke the game open in the seventh inning.

But Schilling (9-2) was troubled with what happened before that.

In the first inning, the Red Sox scratched out a run on three singles. In the bottom of the first, Johnny Damon tied the game for New York with a leadoff home run.

“Three hits and we scrapped to get a run,” Schilling said. “One hitter and the game’s tied. I’ve been doing that.”

Bernie Williams and Robinson Cano also homered for the Yankees, each of them with the bases empty. For Yankees manager Joe Torre that was a tipoff on Schilling.

“The mark of a good pitcher is giving up homers with the bases empty and Schilling has done that,” Torre said. “He’s not going to beat himself. He’s not going to walk people. He nade a couple of mistakes with the splitter. That’s two homers, He throws a lot of strikes. He makes you beat him.”

Schilling retired the last 12 batters he faced. He threw 96 pitches, 62 for strikes, struck out four and walking none.

Damon, who also had a double, thought Schilling was vulnerable.

“He was definitely not as sharp as he can be,” he said. “His splitter didn’t have that bite. But he doesn’t walk guys, He wasn’t trying to strike guys out.”

The home runs gave New York a 3-1 lead before the Red Sox came back against Jaret Wright (3-4) in the sixth inning.

Manny Ramirez led off with a walk and Trot Nixon singled to right. Varitek’s single to left scored Ramirez and when Mike Lowell was hit by a pitch, loading the bases, Wright was finished.

Scott Proctor relieved and surrendered a sacrifice fly to Kevin Youkilis, tying the score at 3-3.Then Alex Gonzalez doubled off third baseman Alex Rodriguez’s glove, scoring Varitek and giving Boston the lead.

An inning later, the Red Sox padded their lead, batting around against Proctor and Scott Erickson. David Ortiz opened with a double and Ramirez was walked intentionally. After Nixon flied out, Varitek hit his sixth home run of the season, making it 7-3. When Erickson relieved, Lowell singled, Youkilis was hit by a pitch, the runners advanced on a passed ball and Coco Crisp added a two-run single.

The Red Sox bunched three hits for a run in the first but could have had more.

Singles by Crisp, Ortiz and Ramirez gave Boston the lead with one out. After Nixon walked, loading the bases, Varitek hit back to Wright, who fumbled the ball but still had time to start and inning-ending double play.

Damon tied it for New York leading off the bottom of the first against Schilling with his eighth home run of the season. The ball hit the screen attached to the right field foul pole and was his third leadoff homer this year and the 19th of his career.

Williams put the Yankees in front in the second inning with his fourth homer of the season and second in two games.

In the fifth, Cano made it 3-1 with his third home run of the season.

Notes

Ramirez’s two singles gave him 17 hits in 33 at-bats against the Yankees this season. He has 14 RBIs in 10 games. … Red Sox 2B Loretta accounted for all three outs in the Yankees fourth, throwing out Jason Giambi, Rodriguez and Jorge Posada…. Schilling had allowed 10 home runs in 12 previous starts this season including three against the Yankees on May 10. … Yankees had won four straight against Boston before Thursday. … Tom Glavine of the New York Mets became the first nine-game winner in the majors Wednesday night.

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