BOSTON (AP) -- Neither a stranger to drama nor afraid of its
glare, Curt Schilling saw the opportunity set out in front of him
and he welcomed it.
"We're in first place, with five days left in the season. We
have a winnable game sitting there; with the chance to be in first
place all alone; with me on the mound," he said. "In my mind,
that's a lock. And it hasn't been, and I haven't made it. That is
probably the most frustrating thing."
After a victory over Toronto in the first game of the
doubleheader put Boston in a tie atop the AL East, Schilling twice
blew a three-run lead and Russ Adams hit a sacrifice fly to break
an eighth-inning tie and help the Blue Jays to a 7-5 victory in the
When the Yankees lost 17-9 to the Baltimore Orioles, New York
and Boston were left tied with five games remaining.
The Red Sox and Yankees are 92-65, also tied with Cleveland atop
the wild-card standings. Tuesday's results guaranteed that the AL
East title will be up for grabs when New York comes to Fenway Park
for a three-game series this weekend to close the season.
"We'd be kidding ourselves if this weekend wasn't going to
determine the outcome of this season," Boston outfielder Johnny Damon said. "It's going to come down to this weekend. It's the
master plan. God's way. Yankees-Red Sox. We just need to win some
games before that series starts."
Tim Wakefield pitched seven strong innings to give Boston a 3-1
victory in the day game. But with the Fenway fans paying as much
attention to the Yankees' game in Baltimore as the one in front of
them, the Red Sox ended their four-game winning streak.
"It's fun to make it interesting for the Red Sox-Yankees
pennant race," said Toronto's Aaron Hill, who had two hits, two runs and
sacrificed himself twice in the late innings. "We're a big team
Boston led 3-0 and 5-2 before the Blue Jays tied it in the
seventh. Chad Bradford (2-1) came in with the bases loaded and
struck out Shea Hillenbrand -- his sixth strikeout in a row -- and
got Eric Hinske to ground out to end the inning.
But Gregg Zaun led off the eighth with a walk and Reed Johnson
singled, then Hill moved them up with a sacrifice bunt. Red Sox
rookie Craig Hansen relieved Bradford and Adams hit a medium fly
ball to right that was deep enough to make it 6-5.
Toronto loaded the bases but Damon was able to get to Corey
Koskie's long fly ball to center field to end it. The Blue Jays
loaded the bases again in the ninth before Hill lofted a fly to
right to make it 7-5.
Edgar Renteria had five hits on the day, and Ortiz had three
RBI to bring his major league-leading total to 143.
Schilling allowed five runs on 10 hits and a walk, striking out
eight in 6 1/3 innings for his third consecutive no-decision. He is
scheduled to start the season finale against the Yankees -- a game
that could decide the division title.
"If it comes down to my final start of the season, that's going
to probably be whether we go to the postseason or not, so it
doesn't matter how I feel about where I am," Schilling said. "I
have to be there."
Wakefield (16-11) helped Boston pull into a tie for the AL East
lead in the afternoon before leaving after seven so he will be
rested for his next start -- on three days' rest -- against the
"I probably could have finished the game, but I don't think
that's a smart move," he said after holding the Blue Jays to one
unearned run on three hits. "It's a pennant race. Every game is
pretty much a must-win."
Wakefield was scheduled to pitch the regular-season finale on
Sunday, but Monday's rainout pushed Schilling back until Tuesday's
nightcap against Gustavo Chacin. The Red Sox decided that the
knuckleballer was better equipped to come back on short rest than
Schilling, who has struggled all season as he recovers from ankle
So out came Wakefield.
"You never want to look past anything," Boston manager Terry
Francona said. "But it's a little bit of an extraordinary
Wakefield walked one and hit a batter while striking out six to
win for the eighth time in 10 decisions. Jonathan Papelbon followed
him in the eighth, using a mid-90s fastball and the late afternoon
shadows to escape a first-and-third, one-out jam.
"That's tough," Catalanotto said. "The toughest part was the
shadows. We all came back saying we couldn't see the ball. It was
tough picking it up. When you go from a slow knuckleball to a guy
throwing 95 and you add in the shadow, it's tough."
Mike Timlin pitched the ninth for his 12th save in 19 chances
and his 79th appearance of the season -- one short of the franchise
Dave Bush (5-11) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings,
striking out five and walking two. He ran into trouble in the first
when Damon led off with a single and Renteria doubled him to third.
The Red Sox face three consecutive left-handed starters,
starting with Chacin on Tuesday. Lefty starters entered the day
5-10 with a 6.59 ERA at Fenway this year. ... Because of Monday's
rainout, Schilling will start the regular-season finale against
Mike Mussina. Wakefield will face Randy Johnson on Saturday. David
Wells and Chien-Ming Wang will pitch Friday's series opener. ...
Wakefield's previous two starts were no-decisions. He is 2-1 with a
1.99 ERA in September. His 220 1/3 innings is a career high. ...
Former Red Sox infielder Johnny Pesky celebrated his 86th birthday.
... Bush has allowed 17 first-inning runs in 23 starts. He has a
6.65 ERA in the first inning and a 3.99 ERA after that. ... Frank
Menechino is 6-for-16 (.375) in his career against Wakefield. ...
The Red Sox went six consecutive home games without scoring more
than three runs, the first time they've done that since 1976. ...
Hillenbrand struck out swinging seven times in the two games,
including six straight.