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False start: Schilling roughed up by Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Curt Schilling could find only one
serious negative about his first start in four months -- the final
score.

The veteran right-hander, who had been in Boston's bullpen most
of the season, got cuffed around in his first start since April and
the Kansas City Royals beat the Red Sox 7-4 on Thursday night,
their fourth win in five games since a franchise-record 19-game
losing streak.

"I didn't feel like I had super stuff and I didn't feel like I
had bad stuff," Schilling said. "I felt normal."

Schilling (5-6) went five innings, giving up six runs and nine
hits. Making his first start since losing to Tampa Bay on April 23,
he walked one and had five strikeouts, including the last two
batters he faced.

"In the fifth inning I thought I got more comfortable," he
said. "I didn't throw my first split until the ninth hitter of the
game, which is not something that happens to me a lot. I only think
I threw three in the first four innings. A lot of that was
confidence. I didn't feel real comfortable with it."

The six-time All-Star, who led the majors last year with 21 wins
and then led the Red Sox to the World Series title, went on the
disabled list on April 29 with a right ankle bruise after going 1-2
in three starts. He missed 69 games, then was 4-3 with nine saves
in 11 opportunities while filling in for injured closer Keith
Foulke. It was his first regular bullpen work since 1992.

He got the save in all three of the Red Sox' victories over the
Royals in Boston on Aug. 2-4.

"We got some hits off him early," said Emil Brown, who had
three hits, including a 422-foot solo homer off Jonathan Papelbon
in the eighth. "I wouldn't say he was a hittable pitcher. He
didn't look ordinary."

While going 4-6 on their 10-game road trip, the first-place Red
Sox saw their lead over the New York Yankees in the AL East shrink
from 4½ games to 2½.

"It's a loss," Schilling said. "I can't search for things and
try to figure things out at the expense of this ballclub. Not now.
Not in August. Not with a 2½-game lead. Tonight was a night when I
certainly had the stuff to win and just did not execute."

Denny Hocking and Paul Phillips, Kansas City's Nos. 8 and 9
hitters, had RBI singles to left in the second and Terrence Long
followed with an RBI single to center for a 3-0 lead.

Mike Sweeney doubled leading off the second and eventually
scored from third on a fielder's choice grounder by Mark Teahen.

In the fifth, Hocking scored from first on a close play at the
plate on David DeJesus' double. DeJesus scored on Long's sacrifice
fly to make it 6-2.

Hocking's one-out RBI single was the first run the Royals scored
behind Jose Lima (5-12) in 24 2/3 innings, just short of the team
record of 25 1/3 scoreless innings behind Kevin Appier. Lima went
five-plus innings and was charged with three runs and five hits. He
walked two and had one strikeout.

Mike MacDougal pitched the ninth for his 17th save.

Schilling began the season on the 15-day disabled list
recovering from surgery to repair a detached tendon in his right
ankle, a condition which caused blood to seep through his right
sock while he pitched in the World Series and created one of the
most compelling images of the year.

"I don't think we saw Schilling at his best tonight," Kansas
City manager Buddy Bell said. "But we took advantage of it and
that's what we have to do when a guy like that is not at the top of
his game."

The Red Sox got two runs in the fourth on consecutive RBI
doubles by Bill Mueller and Alex Cora with two outs.

After Manny Ramirez doubled leading off the sixth, Shawn Camp
relieved Lima and gave up an RBI double to Jason Varitek on his
first pitch. Cora's fielder's choice grounder made it 6-4.

The Royals, after the 19-game losing streak, have beaten Oakland
and Boston twice each. It was their first home series win over the
Red Sox since Aug. 1-3, 1997.

"If we play solid baseball, we can play with anybody," Long
said. "We've got to play almost perfect baseball, which is tough
to do every day."

Game notes
Royals 1B Matt Stairs appeared to injure himself stretching
for a line drive in the fourth and was replaced by Joe McEwing. The
team said he had a left hamstring strain and was day-to-day. ...
The Royals put INF Donnie Murphy on the 15-day DL and recalled OF
Aaron Guiel from Triple-A Omaha. Murphy injured his finger on
Wednesday night. Guiel was hitting .276 at Omaha with 30 home runs
and 94 RBI. ... The Red Sox will make up their rained-out game of
Aug. 14 against Chicago on Sept. 5, a scheduled day off. Without
another day off until Sept. 22, Boston will play 30 consecutive
days. ... Boston's David Ortiz did not start Thursday night after
bruising his hand on a slide the night before.