ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Curt Schilling is glad to be done with the bullpen and back to what he does best.
The six-time All-Star made what figures to be his last scheduled appearance as a reliever for the Boston Red Sox on Sunday, allowing a ninth-inning run in a 5-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.Before Schilling left the bullpen, he had a perfect view of Edgar Renteria's three-run homer that broke a scoreless tie.Manny Ramirez added a two-run shot as the defending World Series champs did all their scoring in the eighth inning and gained a four-game split. The victory increased their AL East lead over the New York Yankees to four games."We won a lot more games than we lost when I was down there, and that was the goal," said Schilling, who was recovering from a right ankle injury. "I went down there to try and help seal a leak and patch a hole. I'd like to think I did that for the most part. I mean, I certainly didn't pitch as well as I would have liked, but we played well and won games while I was down there. So it all worked out. The only thing that matters now is going out there on Thursday and get myself back to the top of this rotation, which is where I want to be."Schilling, 38, was 4-3 with nine saves in 11 chances and a 5.18 ERA in his 21 relief appearances. He allowed three hits Sunday, including Steve Finley's RBI double."It's something we felt for him and for us was the best thing to do," manager Terry Francona said. "Not only do we appreciate him doing it, but I think it sped up his process for being an effective pitcher -- because there's been some inconsistency there.
He's seen it and we've seen it."Bill Mueller and Tony Graffanino opened the eighth with singles against Paul Byrd (9-8). Gabe Kapler bunted into a forceout at third, but the runners advanced on a checked-swing bouncer to third by Johnny Damon.Renteria drove a 1-0 pitch into the left field bullpen for his seventh homer. It ended a homerless drought of 199 at-bats for the All-Star shortstop."It was kind of appropriate," Francona said. "He had a real tough first month, but since the weather's warmed up, he's been about a .320 hitter. His bat has become so alive. He's lined out about six or seven times, so he could have been real hot right now. Today he finally got enough on one to get it out of there. And we were dying for a hit."David Ortiz beat a defensive shift with a bunt single up the third base side, and Ramirez greeted Brendan Donnelly with his 33rd homer.Mike Timlin (5-2) pitched two hitless innings for the victory.Byrd allowed three hits in his first 1 1/3 innings but did not allow another until John Olerud singled with one out in the seventh -- ending a string of 15 consecutive batters retired. Byrd remained winless in six starts."I felt good," said Byrd, who was held out of his previous scheduled outing on Tuesday because of back spasms. "I was hitting my spots and I felt like they weren't squaring the ball up on me and I didn't feel like they were comfortable up there. But the last
inning it all changed."Jon Papelbon allowed five hits in 5 2/3 innings in his third big-league start. His teammates have totaled only four runs while he's been on the mound, but they've won all three games.Vladimir Guerrero received five intentional walks during the series and went 2-for-12. Papelbon stranded a runner at third base in the first, retiring Bengie Molina on a fielder's choice grounder after walking the reigning AL MVP intentionally."I looked at their lineup and I said, 'Hey, I'm not going to let Vladimir Guerrero beat me. I'll pitch to Molina if I have to,'" Papelbon said.Boston's Jason Varitek, who had thrown out only eight of 60 baserunners attempting to steal, erased Chone Figgins in the third inning and Darin Erstad in the fourth.Figgins is second in the AL with a career-high 41 steals. Erstad, starting as the DH for the second straight game because of aching legs, was 56-for-63 in steal attempts since the start of the 2002 season before Varitek got him.
Boston infielder Alex Cora and Angels second baseman Adam Kennedy each had an 18-pitch at-bat last season. Cora ended his with a two-run homer -- against current Red Sox teammate Matt Clement. Kennedy ended his with a walk against Milwaukee's Luis Vizcaino.