Red Sox 9, Angels 3

Curt Schilling has pitched a lot better in big games than he did Tuesday.

Fortunately, he had a large margin for error, so everything worked out for the Boston Red Sox.

Schilling worked effectively into the seventh inning, Manny Ramirez and Kevin Millar homered during a seven-run burst in the fourth and the Red Sox beat the Anaheim Angels, 9-3, to open their American League playoff series.

Schilling said he felt "incredibly strong" in the bullpen before the game and had good velocity, but struggled otherwise.

"I knew I wasn't as sharp as I have been," he said. "Looking back, I made some mistakes today. I left some pitches over the plate. [But] solo home runs don't beat you."

Each team hit two homers, but Boston's produced five runs and Anaheim's only two.

And the Red Sox had an 8-0 lead after 31/2 innings.

"All you can ask from him is to go out there and give us a chance to win," said Millar, whose two-run homer triggered Boston's big inning. "We swung the bats enough to give him a lead, and he held it."

Schilling gave up nine hits and three runs, two earned, and allowed at least one base runner in every inning. He walked two and struck out four in 62/3 innings.

The 37-year-old right-hander entered with a 5-1 record and a 1.66 ERA in 11 previous postseason appearances.

Schilling also tweaked his right ankle and said afterward it was a little sore. But he said he doesn't believe it will create any problems.

Pedro Martinez will pitch against Anaheim's Bartolo Colon in Game 2 on Wednesday night before the best-of-five series moves to Boston.

"We're up 1-0. Tomorrow's starters will determine momentum going into the game," Schilling said. "This is a tough place to win. But we've got Pedro going. I'm pretty excited about that."

The Angels are in a familiar place, having lost series openers to the Yankees, Twins and Giants two years ago before rebounding to beat those teams en route to the World Series championship.

"Hopefully we can bounce back like we did then," losing pitcher Jarrod Washburn said.

Just like the 2002 postseason, most of the fans at Angel Stadium wore red and made it noisy by banging ThunderStix. The volume level decreased significantly after the Red Sox took their big lead, and not even stuffed Rally Monkeys could spur the home team.

The seven runs were the most ever scored by the Red Sox in an inning in the postseason and the most ever allowed by the Angels. Five of the runs were unearned because of a throwing error by third baseman Chone Figgins.

Schilling was relieved by Alan Embree with a runner at second, two outs in the seventh and the Red Sox leading 8-3. Embree retired pinch hitter Adam Riggs on foul pop-up to end the inning.

Boston went ahead for good off Washburn in the first on a two-out double by Ramirez and a broken-bat single by David Ortiz.

Ortiz walked to begin the fourth and Millar hit an 0-1 off-speed pitch into the left field bullpen, making it 3-0. The Red Sox then loaded the bases with one out, and two runs scored when Figgins fielded Johnny Damon's grounder but was far off target with his throw home as he went for the force.

"In a game like this, it's certainly more irritating than a regular season game. There's a lot more riding on it," Figgins said. "I played aggressively. That's the way I play. If it happens tomorrow, I'm going to do the same thing. I'm not beating myself up."

Scot Shields relieved and struck out Mark Bellhorn, but Ramirez capped the inning with a three-run homer over the left-center field fence.

Troy Glaus, MVP of the 2002 World Series, hit Schilling's second pitch in the bottom half of the inning for a long home run.

Darin Erstad added a solo homer in the seventh, and the Angels got another run on Schilling's throwing error and an RBI double by Glaus. Doug Mientkiewicz's two-out bunt single off Anaheim's Ramon Ortiz in the eighth completed the scoring.

Boston slugger Manny Ramirez takes aim at stadium landscape, rocking three-run blast off Angels reliever Scot Shields to increase Red Sox lead to 8-0.