Red Sox earn Game 1 victory, 9-3, after 7-run fourth inning

With less than best stuff, Schilling helps Boston rout Angels on the road

AL Division Series

October 06, 2004|By Mark Herrmann | Mark Herrmann,NEWSDAY

ANAHEIM, Calif. - The oddities were so many that the whole day was hard to describe. The Red Sox scored seven runs in an inning, a postseason record for them and for the Anaheim Angels, and Boston won big without a really big game from Curt Schilling. By just about any measure, it was extraordinary.

Except that these are the Red Sox, and oddities are second nature to them. So they had their distinctive way of looking at their 9-3 win in Game 1 of the American League Division Series yesterday.

"I thought it was a typical Red Sox game," Boston right fielder Gabe Kapler said. "I didn't see too much that made me say, `Wow, we feel different.' It felt like a Red Sox game."

In other words, it was a smorgasbord of hitting, fielding, base running, pitching and opportunism.

"Everything we did today was good," said Boston's Kevin Millar, whose two-run homer against Jarrod Washburn touched off the seven-run fourth.

That was the most encouraging thing for the Red Sox: They didn't really do anything special, they won in a rout, and they have a chance to take a 2-0 series lead tonight with Pedro Martinez starting against Bartolo Colon.

They squeaked ahead in the first with Manny Ramirez's bad-hop double over third base and David Ortiz's broken-bat bloop single. They turned a big inning into a historic one when Anaheim third baseman Chone Figgins threw away Johnny Damon's bases-loaded grounder, allowing two runs to score.

Schilling gave up three runs (two earned) and nine hits before leaving with two outs in the seventh. The Red Sox didn't have to sweat even though Schilling put his own performance this way: "This is probably as bad as I've thrown, command-wise, in five, six, seven weeks."

"But," he added, "you don't look at the whole picture right now. You know what? This is a different time of year, and assessing your performance takes on a different meaning."

So he assessed it this way: "We won today."

Even his sore right ankle, which he injured in July and which he grabbed after he made a wild throw on Garret Anderson's dribbler in the seventh, didn't give him pause. Schilling said he "tweaked" it and that the medical staff "will take care of it."

It is much the same way that the Red Sox felt they were in good hands before Schilling even started. You get the impression that they felt they were up a half-run because of their pitcher. They fed off his intensity.

"When I looked and saw a 14-year veteran being nervous, I knew I was OK," said Mike Timlin, who closed it out with two perfect innings.

Besides, they benefited from Schilling keeping the ball away against Angels star Vladimir Guerrero, who was hitless in four tries against him and 0-for-5 overall.

In contrast, the Red Sox took advantage of whatever luck and the Angels gave them. "You need to, man, especially against that team," Ramirez said. "They're playing so great."

So the Figgins misplay was huge. So was Ramirez's three-run shot to the boulders beyond the left-center-field wall that made it 8-0.

Everyone on each side was aware that the Angels lost the first game of a postseason series three times in 2002 and still won the world championship.

"I don't think you're going to look back on that," Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia said. "The makeup of our team is such that we have been turning the page, and you have to do that in a short series."

Still, the Red Sox - whom Damon characterized before the game as "idiots" - showed they are resilient in the playoff cauldron. Shortstop Orlando Cabrera, in his postseason debut, was solid and occasionally spectacular in the field. He also saw it as a typical Red Sox game.

"Well, there weren't too many Boston fans," he said, but added that there were more than a few. "They were fighting in the right-field stands."

Newsday is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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