BOSTON (AP) – Curt Schilling is done for the year. David Ortiz just keeps on slugging.

Ortiz hit his AL-leading 54th homer to help Schilling end his season with his long-awaited 15th victory, and the Boston Red Sox snapped a three-game skid on Tuesday night by beating the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 5-1.

“Eight weeks ago, we’re in position to do something and I’m looking at 23, 24, 25 wins and all that goes with it,” Schilling said. “Eight weeks later, I’m trying to get my 15th win. A lot of disappointment there.”

Schilling (15-7) allowed one run, six hits and four walks, striking out nine for his first win since beating Tampa Bay on Aug. 4. Red Sox manager Terry Francona sent him out to the mound for the top of the eighth, then removed Schilling before he threw a pitch.

The maneuver gave the crowd a chance to cheer for the star of the 2004 World Series for what many suspected would be his final appearance of the less-gratifying ’06 season. And Francona gave them their cue, applauding before he took away the ball.

“I kind of thought it was a nice way to send off the season for him,” Francona said.

Schilling even hinted that he could call it a career, talking about his plans for the offseason and saying at one point, “If I come back next year.” Asked to clarify, the 39-year-old right-hander said he just meant, “going into next year.”

The Red Sox moved back into second place in the AL East, a half-game ahead of the Blue Jays, when Toronto lost to the Detroit Tigers 4-3.

Ortiz hit a 1-0 pitch from 23-year-old rookie Jason Hammel (0-5) into the right-field stands in the third inning, then added a two-run single in the four-run fourth as the Red Sox opened a 5-1 lead. Hammel allowed five runs, nine hits and two walks, striking out three in four innings before sticking around to watch Schilling work.

“I stayed out for a few innings after I had come out just to watch, maybe pick up a few things,” he said. “He’s been around for a long time and he’s been successful. Just being able to see him go about his game, just take a few notes and we’ll see if I can do a little something like him.”

Four of Schilling’s wins this season are against the last-place Devil Rays, with another three against fourth-place Baltimore. He is on track to make one more start, against the Orioles on Sunday, but with the Red Sox eliminated from playoff contention he will skip it.

“I think we both knew that was about it,” Francona said.

Left fielder Manny Ramirez is also questionable for the rest of the season. The only World Series MVP the Red Sox have ever had has missed 15 of the last 16 games, but he was in the lineup for Tuesday night briefly before being scratched in the afternoon.

That left Ortiz to carry the offense – again. He went 3-for-4 with three RBIs.

“We kept him in the ballpark a couple times,” Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “And the one time, we did not.”

The Red Sox slugger was honored before the game for surpassing the franchise home run record held by Jimmie Foxx, who hit 50 in 1938. Foxx’s daughter, Nanci Foxx Canaday, joined him on the field along with Linda Ruth Tosetti, Babe Ruth’s granddaughter.

Alex Cora was 2-for-3 with a triple and an RBI. Keith Foulke pitched his 10th consecutive scoreless inning over 10 appearances.

The Devil Rays dropped to 2-27 in road games since the All-Star break.

Notes: Boston 1B Kevin Youkilis scored 100 runs for the first time in his career. … B.J. Upton was picked off first base in the second inning and Carl Crawford got thrown out trying to go from first to third on a single. … Greg Norton snapped a 7-for-44 slump with an RBI double in the first inning and a single in the third. … Red Sox SS Alex Gonzalez was a late scratch from the lineup for personal reasons. … OF Coco Crisp had successful hand surgery. … RHP Matt Clement had exploratory surgery on his right shoulder and found “significant damage,” Francona said. … Ortiz tied Ruth’s record last week with his 32nd home run on the road.

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