Final

Series: Game 1 of 4

Oakland leads 1-0 (as of 9/15)

Game 1: Thursday, September 15
Oakland6Final
Boston2
Game 2: Friday, September 16
Oakland2Final
in 10
Boston3
Game 3: Saturday, September 17
Oakland1Final
Boston2
Game 4: Sunday, September 18
Oakland12Final
Boston3

Athletics 6

(81-65, 40-35 away)

Red Sox 2

(85-61, 48-23 home)

7:05 PM ET, September 15, 2005

Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts 

123456789 R H E
OAK 210000120 6 14 0
BOS 000001100 2 7 0

W: J. Blanton (10-11)

L: C. Schilling (6-8)

Red Sox return home with Schilling on the mound

Oakland (80-65) at Boston (85-60), 7:05 pm EDT

BOSTON (Ticker) -- Curt Schilling will try to continue his turnaround at home as he leads the Boston Red Sox into the opener of a four-game set with the Oakland Athletics on Thursday.

After a string of sub-par outings following his return to the rotation, Schilling (6-7, 6.28 ERA) flashed his winning form Saturday in New York, leading Boston to a 9-2 win over the archrival Yankees.

The 38-year-old righthander, who had allowed nine hits in each of his first six starts this year, yielded two runs and just five hits in eight innings to notch his first win as a starter since April 18.

That victory gave the Red Sox a four-game lead over the Yankees in the American League East Division, an advantage that has been eroded to 2 1/2 entering Thursday.

Boston has maintained some distance due in large part to slugger David Ortiz, who belted four home runs in a three-game series with Toronto to start the week, leading the Red Sox to a pair of wins.

Ortiz's 11th-inning blast gave Boston a 6-5 win in Monday's opener and his two-run shot in the eighth inning of Wednesday's 5-3 victory proved to be the difference. He has a career-high 42 home runs and has hit 38 as a designated hitter this year, the best mark since the rule was established in 1973.

Oakland limps into town after dropping a pair of difficult losses in Cleveland. The Athletics blew a late 2-0 lead in Tuesday's 5-2 setback and saw Ronnie Belliard's three-run homer sink them Wednesday, 6-4.

The back-to-back losses kept Oakland from gaining on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the AL West, remaining one game back. The A's fell 3 1/2 behind the Indians in the wild card race.

Rookie Joe Blanton (9-11, 3.60) makes his debut in Fenway Park for Oakland. Blanton improved to 4-7 on the road in Saturday's 5-4 win over Texas despite allowing more than two runs for the first time in 10 starts.

The 24-year-old righthander is 4-3 with a 1.79 ERA over those 10 outings.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Gameday Matchup

 OaklandBoston
W-L88-7495-67
Night53-5465-48
Grass83-6687-54
Current StreakW2W1
Last 104-67-3

Pitching Matchup

OaklandBoston
J. Blanton
12-12, 3.53 ERA

Last Game:
10/1 at SEA
6.0 IP, 2 ER
Dec = Win
C. Schilling
8-8, 5.69 ERA

Last Game:
10/2 vs NYY
6.0 IP, 1 ER
Dec = Win

Gameday Lineups

NO.OaklandBoston
1. M. Ellis, 2B J. Damon, CF
2. J. Kendall, C E. Renteria, SS
3. M. Kotsay, CF D. Ortiz, DH
4. E. Chavez, 3B M. Ramirez, LF
5. J. Payton, LF T. Nixon, RF
6. S. Hatteberg, DH J. Varitek, C
7. D. Johnson, 1B J. Olerud, 1B
8. N. Swisher, RF B. Mueller, 3B
9. M. Scutaro, SS T. Graffanino, 2B