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Pinch-hitter McDonald drives in game-ending run

DETROIT (AP) -- Curt Schilling walked slowly off the mound with
his head down, hardly resembling the confident pitcher who carried
the Boston Red Sox to their first World Series title in 86 years.

John McDonald's two-out single in the ninth capped a comeback
against Schilling, who blew a two-run lead in Boston's 7-6 loss to
the Detroit Tigers on Monday night.

"You can't cost your team games trying to learn a job,"
Schilling said. "You can't do that. There's no excuse for what
happened."

Schilling (4-5) entered the game with a two-run lead with two
outs in the eighth and struck out Curtis Granderson to end the
inning. In the ninth, Schilling gave up three runs on four hits and
a walk.

The six-time All-Star was moved from ace to closer a month ago
when he returned from an ankle injury. He was out for 2½ months
with a bone bruise on his right ankle, the same damaged ankle he
pitched on in the AL championship series against New York and the
World Series against St. Louis.

Schilling had converted nine saves in 10 opportunities, but had
given up four runs on four hits -- including three homers -- in his
last two appearances.

"He's not the Curt Schilling that finished last season,"
teammate Johnny Damon said. "He needs some work, he knows it.
He'll find it. Hopefully, he'll get another opportunity [Tuesday]
and he'll close it out for us."

Placido Polanco started the rally with a leadoff single in the
ninth, Dmitri Young followed with a one-out RBI triple and Magglio
Ordonez tied the game with a single. After a walk and a strikeout,
McDonald singled to left and as the Tigers celebrated at home
plate, Schilling walked toward the dugout visibly dejected.

McDonald was beaming while talking about the most important hit
of his career. The utility infielder, acquired last month from
Toronto, has bounced between the majors and the minors since his
major-league debut with Cleveland in 1999.

"It's been a lot of years of playing baseball to finally feel
that," he said. "I've watched a lot of guys get that feeling.
I'll remember that for a long time."

McDonald entered the game in the ninth only because Omar Infante
made a baserunning mistake, not running hard on a grounder that
went from foul to fair territory down the third-base line, leading
to the second out of the eighth inning.

"Those are lessons that we need to learn," Tigers manager Alan
Trammell said. "I made my statement. I talked to him. It's over."

Jamie Walker (4-3) pitched the ninth for the Tigers, who have
won three straight and snapped Boston's six-game winning streak.

The AL-East leading Red Sox appeared to be on their way to
another victory behind David Ortiz's 29th home run and Alex Cora's
three RBI, two on a homer, before Schilling struggled.

Red Sox starter Bronson Arroyo gave up three runs on 10 hits and
no walks over six innings.

"He battled and kept us in that game," catcher Jason Varitek
said. "We just couldn't break it open."

Mike Timlin pitched the seventh, and Chad Bradford got two outs
the eighth before giving way to Schilling.

Detroit's Vance Wilson hit an RBI single to make it 6-4, chasing
Bradford. Wilson caught after Ivan Rodriguez was a late scratch
with a sore hip and groin.

Tigers starter Sean Douglass allowed five runs on five hits and
four walks over four-plus innings.

Cora's two-run homer put Boston ahead 3-0 in the second after
Manny Ramirez doubled and scored on Bill Mueller's sacrifice fly.
Infante pulled Detroit within a run with a two-run double in the
home half, and Ordonez's sacrifice fly in the third tied it.

Cora's groundout in the fourth scored Ramirez. Ortiz's RBI
double gave the Red Sox a 5-3 lead in the fifth, and his homer in
the seventh made it 6-3.

Game notes
With his divorce two weeks away, Rodriguez said he didn't
travel with the team last week to Toronto while he was suspended
because he needed to clear his head. The All-Star catcher said he
apologized to his teammates for joining them a day later than
expected in Kansas City, but he's not sure he has been forgiven.
"They don't know what I've been going through all year and they
don't need to know because it's my personal business," he said
before taking himself out of the lineup Monday. "If they can't
accept my apology, that's fine." ... Damon, who is leading the AL
in batting, was in the lineup for the first time since leaving
Friday night's game in the ninth with a left hamstring injury. ...
Detroit SS Carlos Guillen (knee) will be examined Tuesday. ... Two
male fans ran across the field naked in the sixth, delaying the
game for a couple of minutes. ... The Red Sox will start Jon
Papelbon on Tuesday after making a move to promote him from
Triple-A Pawtucket and sending down RHP Manny Delcarmen.