Series: Game 2 of 3

Boston leads 2-0 (as of 5/19)

Game 1: Tuesday, May 18
Tampa Bay3
Game 2: Wednesday, May 19
Tampa Bay1
Game 3: Thursday, May 20
Tampa Bay9

Red Sox 4

(24-16, 13-10 away)

Devil Rays 1

(10-28, 7-11 home)

    7:15 PM ET, May 19, 2004

    Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

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    TB 100000000 1 6 2

    W: C. Schilling (5-3)

    L: R. Bell (0-1)

    S: K. Foulke (8)

    Schilling allows one run in seven innings

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Manny Ramirez hurt the Tampa Bay Devil Rays again.

    Ramirez hit a two-run homer, and Curt Schilling allowed one run in seven innings to lead the Boston Red Sox over the Devil Rays 4-1 Wednesday night.

    Ramirez has 26 homers against Tampa Bay, the second-most by a Devil Rays opponent behind Carlos Delgado's 28 for Toronto.

    "He's an unbelievable hitter," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "It seems like he stays ahead of pitchers. He's just one of the best hitters in the game."

    Schilling (5-3) gave up five hits, walked one and struck out five. With 2,603 strikeouts, he moved within seven of tying Chuck Finley for 19th on the career list.

    Johnny Damon also homered for AL East-leading Boston, which has outhomered opponents 50-25 this season.

    Ramirez has been bothered by a sore groin and was the designated hitter for the fourth straight game.

    "When we're in Boston, I'll play left," Ramirez said.

    After Thursday's game on the artificial turf at Tampa Bay, the Red Sox open a 10-game homestand Friday night.

    Keith Foulke got four outs for his eighth save in eight chances. With runners at the corners in the eighth, he relieved Alan Embree, fell behind in the count 3-2, then retired pinch-hitter Jose Cruz Jr. on an inning-ending grounder.

    Foulke has converted 22 consecutive save chances. He has not allowed a run in his last 12 outings.

    Tino Martinez had an RBI double for the Devil Rays, who have lost five straight and 12 of 13. Tampa Bay, a major league-worst 10-28, is 0-5 against the Red Sox this season, getting outscored 28-7.

    Damon hit a solo homer and Ramirez had a two-run shot that made it 4-1 in the third. Ramirez's drive to center was his 356th homer, which moved him past Greg Vaughn into 63rd on the career list, two behind Yogi Berra.

    "Manny doesn't make many mistakes at the plate," Damon said.

    Ramirez is hitting .368. He has 21 hits in his past 53 at-bats and has reached base safely in 17 consecutive games.

    "Manny is probably one of the better hitters I've seen," Schilling said. "One of the best hitters that I've ever played with, and I've played with some pretty good hitters. He amazes me on a daily basis."

    Damon was in the lineup one day after being hit in the neck and having his helmet knocked off at second base by shortstop Julio Lugo, who was running after a loose ball.

    Schilling retired 10 straight before allowing Toby Hall's single and Carl Crawford's double with one out in the fifth. He preserved a 4-1 lead by retiring Rocco Baldelli and Aubrey Huff on grounders.

    "Schilling is a very respectable pitcher," Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. "But I thought he was more hittable than I've seen him before."

    Tampa Bay is batting an AL-low .237. The Devil Rays have been held to one run or less 12 times this season.

    "I wish we had a formula," Piniella said. "I wish I would say a magic word. I wish I could sprinkle some magic dust around here, but that's not the case."

    David Ortiz put the Red Sox up 1-0 with a sacrifice fly in the first. Tampa Bay tied it on Martinez's double in the bottom half.

    Tampa Bay's Rob Bell (0-1), making his first start this season, gave up four runs and five hits in five innings. He was called up from Triple-A Durham before the game.

    Game notes

    The game was delayed six minutes before the bottom of the third so the grounds crew -- at Schilling's request -- could work on the mound. "The hole (near the rubber) was a little bit too deep," Schilling said. "Had I known it was going to be that long (of a delay), I would have told them to forget it. They had to run out to center field to get the stuff to fix the mound." ... Schilling became the 20th pitcher to reach 2,600 strikeouts when he struck out Huff in the third. ... Ramirez is 8-for-15 with three homers against Bell. ... Tampa Bay 2B Geoff Blum stole second in the second. The Devil Rays have been successful on their last 16 stolen-base attempts.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press