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Ortiz powers Red Sox past Devil Rays

Sep 27, 2006 - 2:13 AM BOSTON (Ticker) -- David Ortiz continued to add to his MVP credentials.

Ortiz had three hits and three RBI and Curt Schilling pitched seven sensational innings in leading the Boston Red Sox to a 5-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

The burly designated hitter blasted his 54th home run in the third and added a two-run single in the fourth. Ortiz leads the American League in homers and RBI (137) despite recently missing eight games with an irregular heartbeat.

Ortiz was honored in a pre-game ceremony for breaking Jimmie Foxx's franchise single-season home run mark. Foxx's daughter came up from Florida while Babe Ruth's grand daughter was also on hand. Ortiz finished the season with 32 homers on the road, matching Ruth's 1927 American League mark.

"It was great to meet two people who have had such great history with the Red Sox," Ortiz said. "It was great to hit that one (54). I love to do things like that, especially in front of the fans. The number just keeps on going up. Seems like I'm making it tougher for the next guy."

Schilling (15-7) earned his first win at Fenway Park since July 20. The veteran righthander allowed one run and six hits and struck out nine.

"It was a nice way to finish (the season)," Schilling said. "It is disappointing on a lot of levels to have (the season) go the way it went. Such a promising start, but you know you've got to take it for what it is and learn from it."

Schilling became the first member of the Red Sox since 1978 to start 8-0 before losing his next six home games. His last win came against Tampa Bay on August 4.

"You know, eight weeks ago, we were in the position to do something and I was looking at a 23-, 24- or 25-win season and all that comes with it and I am starting here tonight trying to get my 15th win," Schilling said. "A lot of disappointment there."

Francona allowed Schilling to take the mound for the eighth before yanking him before the first batter, allowing the crowd to give him a standing ovation. Schilling responded by tipping his cap to all sections of the park. Afterward, Francona confirmed Schilling had thrown his last pitch for the season.

"Just the way the game went," Francona said of his decision. "It just seemed like the right thing to do. I think I know him well enough that it was probably the right thing to do. And when he came out after seven, I think we both knew that was about it."

The Red Sox (84-74) moved a half-game ahead of Toronto for second place in the American League East Division.

Devil Rays rookie Jason Hammel (0-5) failed to advance past the fourth inning, surrendering five runs and nine hits. It was his eighth attempt at his first major league win.

"He just couldn't get through that moment again," Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I really don't know what the answer is right now. It's still one of those things we have to look into."

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Red Sox and clinched the season series against the Devil Rays, 10-8.

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