Ortiz hit his AL-leading 54th homer to help Schilling end his
season with his long-awaited 15th victory, and the Boston Red Sox
snapped a three-game skid on Tuesday night by beating the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 5-1.
"Eight weeks ago, we're in position to do something and I'm
looking at 23, 24, 25 wins and all that goes with it," Schilling
said. "Eight weeks later, I'm trying to get my 15th win. A lot of
Schilling (15-7) allowed one run, six hits and four walks,
striking out nine for his first win since beating Tampa Bay on Aug.
4. Red Sox manager Terry Francona sent him out to the mound for the
top of the eighth, then removed Schilling before he threw a pitch.
The maneuver gave the crowd a chance to cheer for the star of
the 2004 World Series for what many suspected would be his final
appearance of the less-gratifying '06 season. And Francona gave
them their cue, applauding before he took away the ball.
"I kind of thought it was a nice way to send off the season for
him," Francona said.
Schilling even hinted that he could call it a career, talking
about his plans for the offseason and saying at one point, "If I
come back next year." Asked to clarify, the 39-year-old
right-hander said he just meant, "going into next year."
The Red Sox moved back into second place in the AL East, a
half-game ahead of the Blue Jays, when Toronto lost to the Detroit Tigers 4-3.
Ortiz hit a 1-0 pitch from 23-year-old rookie Jason Hammel (0-5)
into the right-field stands in the third inning, then added a
two-run single in the four-run fourth as the Red Sox opened a 5-1
lead. Hammel allowed five runs, nine hits and two walks, striking
out three in four innings before sticking around to watch Schilling
"I stayed out for a few innings after I had come out just to
watch, maybe pick up a few things," he said. "He's been around
for a long time and he's been successful. Just being able to see
him go about his game, just take a few notes and we'll see if I can
do a little something like him."
Four of Schilling's wins this season are against the last-place
Devil Rays, with another three against fourth-place Baltimore. He
is on track to make one more start, against the Orioles on Sunday,
but with the Red Sox eliminated from playoff contention he will
"I think we both knew that was about it," Francona said.
Left fielder Manny Ramirez is also questionable for the rest of
the season. The only World Series MVP the Red Sox have ever had has
missed 15 of the last 16 games, but he was in the lineup for
Tuesday night briefly before being scratched in the afternoon.
That left Ortiz to carry the offense -- again. He went 3-for-4
with three RBI.
"We kept him in the ballpark a couple times," Devil Rays
manager Joe Maddon said. "And the one time, we did not."
The Red Sox slugger was honored before the game for surpassing
the franchise home run record held by Jimmie Foxx, who hit 50 in
1938. Foxx's daughter, Nanci Foxx Canaday, joined him on the field
along with Linda Ruth Tosetti, Babe Ruth's granddaughter.
The Devil Rays dropped to 2-27 in road games since the All-Star
Boston 1B Kevin Youkilis scored 100 runs for the first time
in his career. ... B.J. Upton was picked off first base in the
second inning and Carl Crawford got thrown out trying to go from
first to third on a single. ... Greg Norton snapped a 7-for-44
slump with an RBI double in the first inning and a single in the
third. ... Red Sox SS Alex Gonzalez was a late scratch from the
lineup for personal reasons. ... OF Coco Crisp had successful hand
surgery. ... RHP Matt Clement had exploratory surgery on his right
shoulder and found "significant damage," Francona said. ... Ortiz
tied Ruth's record last week with his 32nd home run on the road.