Schilling allows four hits in seven innings

BOSTON (AP) -- Less than two weeks after rejoining the Boston Red Sox, Nomar Garciaparra is helping them regain the look of last
year's slugging team.

Garciaparra, sidelined the first 57 games with right Achilles'
tendinitis, hit a grand slam for his first homer of the season in
Boston's 9-2 win over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.

"It was nice," said Garciaparra, who was activated June 9.
"We never counted on just one guy. We expect to pick each other
up, always."

David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez each hit a solo homer and drove in
two runs, and Johnny Damon doubled twice for the team that set a
major league record for slugging percentage last season.

That was plenty for Curt Schilling (9-4), who allowed one run,
four hits and no walks in seven innings with five strikeouts.

"As a pitcher, you just kind of sit back and enjoy," Schilling
said. "You've got to (do) everything in your power for six innings
to keep it tight because this offense is going to break out more
times than not."

Boston led 3-1 before scoring six runs in the seventh. Ortiz
drove in the first run of the inning with a double. Then Twins
manager Ron Gardenhire ordered Aaron Fultz to walk Ramirez
intentionally, loading the bases.

Joe Roa replaced Fultz, and Garciaparra hit Roa's first pitch
into the center-field bleachers for his fifth career grand slam,
all at Fenway Park. After returning to the dugout, Garciaparra
stood on the steps and waved his cap as the crowd stood and

"We know he's a fan favorite here," Gardenhire said, "so I
think the fans should be clapping for me, too, because I made the

Garciaparra wasn't surprised by the intentional walk to Ramirez,
who leads the AL with 19 homers.

"You expect stuff like that," he said.

With Garciaparra back and Trot Nixon in the lineup again after
spending the first 63 games on the disabled list, Boston is
starting to regain the form of the team that set a major league
record for slugging percentage last year. And AL batting champion
Bill Mueller is expected to come off the disabled list before the
All-Star break.

"It's like pick your poison," Damon said. "We have some of
the best 3-4-5 hitters in the league." Ortiz, Ramirez and
Garciaparra went a combined 6-for-13, and Ortiz increased his
AL-leading RBI total to 65.

Garciaparra entered with a .265 batting average in nine games
and was hitless in his first three at-bats before his homer.

"We pitched very well for six innings," Gardenhire said, "and
held a very good offensive team in check."

Schilling didn't seem to be bothered by the sore right ankle
that has plagued him for much of the season and improved to 5-1 in
his last six starts. He's 6-0 at Fenway Park, the first pitcher in
the major leagues to win his first six home decisions this season.

He said he took two shots of marcaine to dull the pain in his

"It doesn't bother me the nights I pitch," Schilling said.

Schilling retired the side in order five times. Making his first
career start against the Twins, he was coming off a 7-3 loss at
Colorado last Wednesday in which he allowed seven runs and walked

"We hit some balls hard, but we hit them right at people,"
Minnesota's Doug Mientkiewicz said. "If you ask (Schilling), he
didn't have his best stuff, but he doesn't need his `A' game to
beat teams."

Schilling allowed a run in the fifth when Damon lost sight of
Matthew LeCroy's fly ball to center, allowing it to fall behind him
for a double.

"It just got lost in the sky. The ball mixes in well that time
of night," Damon said. "If you can't see it, you can't catch

Damon helped Schilling with two outstanding one-handed catches
in the sixth. He jumped against the center-field wall to grab
Cristian Guzman's drive, then raced into the left-field gap to
catch Mientkiewicz's liner for the second out.

Ortiz homered in the first. Ramirez singled in a run in the
third, then made it 3-1 in the sixth against Kyle Lohse (2-5) with
his homer. Lohse allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings.

Ortiz added an RBI double in the seventh off Fultz. After
Garciaparra's homer, Jason Varitek hit a run-scoring single against
Roa for a 9-1 lead.

Alex Prieto hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth off Keith Foulke,
who ended the game by retiring Joe Mauer on a flyout with the bases

Game notes
The Red Sox signed RHP Curtis Leskanic, who was released by
Kansas City, and optioned LHP Mark Malaska to Triple-A Pawtucket.
... For Minnesota, Lew Ford's hitting streak ended at 13 games and
Luis Rivas' streak at 10. ... Boston had its 98th straight sellout
crowd, the third-longest in major league history.