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Schilling dominant again as BoSox nip Baltimore

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Curt Schilling had spent the entire evening
fooling the Baltimore Orioles, relying as much on his savvy as his
powerful right arm.

Then, with two on and two outs in the seventh inning, Jeff
Conine stepped to the plate with Boston up by a run.

Three strikes later, Schilling pumped his fist and pounded his
glove as he walked off the mound for the final time during a
memorable night.

Schilling pitched seven innings of three-hit ball, Jason Varitek
had a hand in both Boston runs, and the Red Sox squeezed out a 2-1
victory Saturday.

Schilling (2-0) struck out four and walked two. A year ago, the
right-hander had a difficult time recovering from offseason ankle
surgery and didn't earn his second win until July.

Now he's got a 1.93 ERA and has accounted for half of Boston's
victories.

"Tonight I probably pitched in more than any start I've done in
my career. I had a game plan and we executed," Schilling said.
"The stuff has been there, and I felt in the seventh inning,
velocity-wise, when I had to have it, I had it. That's a big
boost."

It's a huge plus for the Red Sox, too.

"I haven't even asked him about his ankle. It's a nice
relief," manager Terry Francona said. "He's out there competing,
he's strong, he looks really good to me. He had a nice strong
outing in Texas and he backs it up with one where I thought he
threw the ball better today."

Schilling went 8-8 last year, but that's just a bad memory now
that he's operating at 100 percent.

"As long as he's healthy, he's a good pitcher, and he will
continue to be until he decides not to pitch," Francona said. "We
understand what happened last year, but he's too good a pitcher not
to be good."

Varitek hit two doubles, scored a run and drove in one. Manny
Ramirez had two hits for the Red Sox, who have won three straight
to improve to 4-1, their best start since 2002.

The offense did just enough to back up Schilling, who kept the
Orioles off balance by throwing a variety of pitches in just the
right spot.

"It's all about location," Conine said. "He located his
fastball on the outside corner all night long."

After Schilling left, Mike Timlin gave up a single in the eighth
and Jonathan Papelbon got three straight outs for his second save.

Luis Matos homered for the Orioles, who have dropped three in a
row after opening the season 2-0. Baltimore has lost seven straight
to Boston, dating to last September.

Bruce Chen (0-1) gave up two runs and five hits in five-plus
innings.

The start of the game was delayed 90 minutes by rain, and the
temperature was 44 degrees when the first pitch was thrown.

The early innings featured solid pitching and excellent defense.

Ramirez isn't known for his prowess with a glove, but the left
fielder made a fine running catch of a twisting two-out liner that
Conine hit down the line with two on and two outs in the second.

"I hit it off the end, a split-finger down and in," Conine
said. "I didn't think he was going to catch up to it, but he made
a heck of a play."

Conine said he didn't see another split-finger fastball from
Schilling the rest of the game.

"He looked to me like he regained his old form," Orioles
manager Sam Perlozzo said. "His velocity was up, his command was
really good. He's pretty smart and pretty good."

Leading off the Boston fourth, David Ortiz hit a liner off the
right-field scoreboard. Jay Gibbons played the carom perfectly and
threw out Ortiz at second base. Later in the inning, Varitek
doubled with two outs and scored on a single by Kevin Youkilis.

Boston went up 2-0 in the sixth. Ortiz walked, Ramirez singled
to chase Chen, and Varitek greeted rookie Sendy Rleal with an RBI
double on a 3-0 pitch. Mike Lowell then struck out and Youkilis
walked to load the bases before Rleal struck out pinch-hitter Trot
Nixon and retired Alex Gonzalez on a popup.

Matos homered in the bottom half, his third hit in four lifetime
at-bats against Schilling.

Game notes
Making his first start with Boston, Wily Mo Pena went
0-for-2 with two strikeouts and stranded four runners before
leaving for a pinch hitter. ... Matos has two hits this season,
both home runs. ... Kevin Millar went 0-for-3 against Schilling and
is 1-for-10 lifetime against his former Boston teammate.