Red Sox quiet Orioles

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BALTIMORE (AP) – Curt Schilling pitched seven innings of three-hit ball, Jason Varitek had a hand in both Boston runs, and the Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 Saturday.

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.

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.

After striking out Jeff Conine with two on and two outs in the seventh, Schilling pumped his fist and pounded his glove as he walked off the mound with a 2-1 lead.

The bullpen made it stand up. 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.

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.

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.

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