Curt Schilling pitched seven innings of five-hit ball, David Ortiz drove in the tiebreaking with a bloop single in the seventh, and the visiting Boston Red Sox exploited Baltimore's revamped bullpen in a 6-1 victory last night.
After losing two straight to Toronto by a combined 17-6 score, Boston scored five runs over the final three innings to avoid its first three-game skid of the season. Alex Cora hit his first homer for the Red Sox, who have won 16 of their last 19 games against the Orioles.
Schilling (3-1) gave up one run, struck out three and walked two. The 40-year-old righthander gave up a home run to Miguel Tejada, but allowed only one other batter beyond second base.
"I have not pitched like this since 1992. I am not that 96 [mph] guy anymore," Schilling said. "I can be effective and I can get outs, and I can go deep in games and I can finish games just as easily with the stuff I am throwing now. There will be days when I feel better than others."
Orioles starter Daniel Cabrera (1-2) pitched well but was victimized by the bullpen in Baltimore's third straight defeat. The right-hander left in the seventh after getting two outs and walking two batters with the score tied at 1.
Jamie Walker came in to face Ortiz, who worked the count to 3-2 before plopping an opposite-field single in front of charging left fielder Jay Payton. Manny Ramirez then stopped an 0-for-12 drought with an RBI single off Chad Bradford, who forced in a run by walking J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell.
Walker and Bradford are part of a $42 million makeover the Baltimore bullpen received during the offseason. Before facing the Red Sox, the duo had given up two runs in 17 1/3 innings.
Boston added two runs in the ninth off rookie Jim Johnson. Ramirez hit a sacrifice fly on a drive that center field Corey Patterson caught by leaping to the top of the wall, and Lowell hit an RBI single.
Cora gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead with his first homer since August and second since Aug. 15, 2005. The drive landed in the front row of the rightfield bleachers.
It was the first home run yielded by Cabrera in five starts this season. He had pitched 57 2/3 innings without surrendering a homer, dating back to Sept. 6.
In other games:
* At Minneapolis, David DeJesus had three hits, including a home run, and Mike Sweeney also homered in the Kansas City Royals' 4-3 victory over the Twins.
* At Anaheim, Gary Matthews Jr. and Garret Anderson hit two-run doubles, and the Angels routed the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 9-1.
* At Chicago, Placido Polanco and Magglio Ordonez drove in three runs apiece to lead the Detroit Tigers over the White Sox, 6-2. Chad Durbin (1-1) struck out a career-high nine in eight innings.
* At Oakland, Jarrod Washburn pitched a three-hitter for his third career shutout, leading the Seattle Mariners over the Athletics, 2-0. Washburn (1-2) struck out two and walked two in his first complete game since blanking Texas for the Angels on June 22, 2005.
* At Cleveland, Jhonny Peralta drove in the winning run with an 11th-inning single as the Indians defeated the Texas Rangers, 8-7. *