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Red Sox follow familiar path for win on road

BALTIMORE -- Who would have thought a quick trip to Kinkos would result in another win for the Red Sox?

After all, last night's 2-1 win over the Orioles was a virtual carbon copy of the Sox' 2-1 victory over the Rangers Wednesday in Arlington, Texas.

In that game, Josh Beckett went seven innings in his Red Sox debut, Mike Timlin pitched the eighth, and Jonathan Papelbon finished it off in the ninth. Last night, Curt Schilling did the honors for seven, Timlin again worked the eighth, and Papelbon came on for a 1-2-3 ninth, earning his second career save.

While it's obviously too soon to tell whether this is a team built to win close, low-scoring games, after going 3-22 last season when scoring two or fewer runs, the early trend is encouraging.

''It's a testament to our pitching and it builds momentum to win one-run games," said Jason Varitek, who went 2 for 3 and in the sixth inning doubled to knock in David Ortiz with the winning run.

Schilling (2-0) handed over the one-run lead on a viciously cold night before 41,166 at Camden Yards. Temperatures dipped into the 30s in a game that was delayed 90 minutes at the start by rain.

Timlin allowed one hit (to Nick Markakis) before Paplebon came on to retire Miguel Tejada, Jay Gibbons, and Kevin Millar, the Orioles' 4-5-6 batters, getting Millar to strike out swinging.

''When your starters go seven, it's special," Papelbon said. ''It's special to be able to get in there and save a game for guys who throw so well, as our starters have. I just went in there and gave it all I had."

The Sox, who have taken the first two games of this series, didn't start so well, with base-running blunders by Coco Crisp and Ortiz costing them a chance at early runs. Who could blame them if they were merely trying to keep warm? But the Sox were soon able to solve the sneaky-fast offerings of Orioles lefthander Bruce Chen. Enough, anyway, to come away with the win.

While Schilling's fastball wasn't quite what it was on Opening Day in Texas, when he regularly hit 93 to 94 miles per hour on the radar gun, he located it well. Chen, too, had good location, keeping the Sox off balance early.

But, as is their game plan on most nights, the Sox made Chen throw strikes. He needed 99 pitches to get through five-plus innings, and was out of the game after walking Ortiz and allowing a wall single to right to Manny Ramírez. Ortiz eventually came home on Varitek's double to right off reliever Sendy Rleal, who escaped the inning without further damage.

Schilling allowed a home run to No. 9 hitter Luis Matos to lead off the sixth, cutting the lead to 2-1 and causing one to reflect on the base-running snafus.

One involved Crisp, who singled up the middle with one out in the third inning and stole second base on Chen's first movement to the plate with Mark Loretta up. Crisp decided he could repeat the feat, but Chen spotted him out of the corner of his eye, whirled around, and nailed Crisp with a throw to third baseman Melvin Mora.

In the fourth, Ortiz led off with a hard-hit ball off the right-field wall. After a slight hesitation rounding first, Ortiz was a sitting duck at second, as Gibbons's throw to Tejada had Boston's designated hitter with time to spare.

On a night better suited for pitching than hitting, Ramírez's lunging, backhanded catch of Jeff Conine's liner to left field, which likely would have gone for a double, helped Schilling escape the second inning after he'd allowed a single to Gibbons and had walked Javy Lopez.

The Sox scored first in the fourth. With two outs, Varitek, batting righthanded against Chen, doubled to right-center. Following a walk to Mike Lowell, Kevin Youkilis lined a single to left, scoring Varitek. Wily Mo Peña then struck out for the second time to end the inning.

The Sox squandered other chances.

They had two base runners with no outs in the second inning and came up empty. And Crisp and Loretta both walked to start the seventh but the Sox couldn't score as a drive to left by Ortiz was caught at the warning track, and Ramírez hit into a a 6-4-3 double play.

Schilling, who allowed five hits and two runs against the Rangers in 117 pitches, didn't give in to the cold or an Orioles lineup that was attempting to copy the Sox' patience.

Schilling finished last night with 114 pitches, the final one a heater that got Conine swinging. The seventh certainly was taxing for Schilling, who allowed a leadoff single to Tejada, struck out Gibbons, got Millar to fly out to short center, then hit Lopez in the left wrist with a pitch, setting up a two-on, two-out scenario with Conine. After getting Baltimore's veteran first baseman, Schilling pumped his fist as he walked off the mound.

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