Nixon saves Schilling, Red Sox with game-ending hit

BOSTON (AP) -- For two innings, Curt Schilling couldn't get
anyone out.

"I had two options: I can quit or I can find a way to get
better. I'm going to be better. I'm going to be better before this
is all over," the struggling Red Sox ace said. "After the end of
the second, I was at the end of my rope, and I just figured out
where I was going to go."

Schilling settled down after allowing five runs in the first two
innings on Tuesday night, and Boston rallied from a five-run
deficit to beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 7-6 when Trot Nixon
singled in the winning run with two outs in the ninth.

Making his first start at Fenway since April, Schilling gave up
five runs in the first two innings before settling down with four
scoreless innings.

"To his credit, he dug his heels in there," Devil Rays manager
Lou Piniella said. "We scored five off him in two innings and he
went six innings (total) and didn't give up any more."

Boston trailed 5-0 after two and 6-4 in the eighth before tying
the score on Bill Mueller's RBI groundout and John Olerud's

There was one out in the ninth when David Ortiz walked against
Joe Borowski (1-1) and took third on Manny Ramirez's single off
Danys Baez. Jason Varitek drew a walk after falling behind in the
count 0-2, then Johnny Damon hit a liner to right that was too hard
for Ortiz to score.

Nixon followed with a similar shot, a little shallower, and it
fell in for a single.

Mike Timlin (6-2) pitched one inning of perfect relief, striking
out one.

Julio Lugo, Carl Crawford and Jorge Cantu had three hits apiece
for the Devil Rays.

"These guys can hit a little bit. Actually, they can hit a
lot," Varitek said. "(Schilling) is playing catch-up while the
hitters are in the prime this time of year."

Schilling made just three starts before missing 69 games with a
right ankle injury, then made 21 relief appearances before
returning to the rotation for a 7-4 loss at Kansas City on
Thursday. His hair bleached blond and his socks just plain old
white, he was in trouble from the start.

Lugo doubled to lead off the game and, after a sacrifice bunt,
scored on Cantu's single before Schilling struck out Aubrey Huff
and Jonny Gomes to end the inning. Alex Gonzalez doubled with one
out in the second, Toby Hall singled and Lugo tripled to make it

Crawford and Cantu doubled to score another pair of runs before
Huff grounded out to end the inning.

Schilling set the Devil Rays down in order in the third and
escaped the fourth despite giving up a pair of singles. He retired
six of his last seven batters before leaving after six trailing

It was 6-4 when Damon, who was not in the starting lineup a
night after getting hit in the hand by a pitch, walked as a pinch
hitter leading off the eighth. Nixon doubled him to third, and
Mueller drove in a run with a bouncer to the first baseman.

Olerud pinch hit and singled to right to make it 6-6.

Game notes
Cantu had two RBI to give him 28 RBI August -- the most by
a Devil Rays player in any month. ... Devil Rays starter Kazmir was
warned by plate umpire Ed Montague after hitting the first Boston
batter, Tony Graffanino. Kazmir allowed four runs, five hits, three
walks and a hit batter in 5 2-3 innings. ... Damon scored his 100th
run of the season. He has eight consecutive seasons with 100 runs
and 30 doubles. ... Schilling's four strikeouts moved him past Cy
Young on the career list with 2,801, according to the Elias Sports
Bureau. ... Boston recalled RHP Manny Delcarmen from Triple-A and
optioned left-hander Abe Alvarez to Pawtucket. ... Tampa Bay bench
coach John McLaren was ejected in the middle of the ninth. ... Red
Sox closer Keith Foulke allowed two runs and four hits in one
inning during a rehab outing at Single-A Lowell. He is scheduled to
be activated Thursday, when active rosters expand from 25 to 40.