Ace aims to play stopper

Ace looks to slam brakes on tough skid

The Red Sox, now riding a four-game losing streak that matches a season high, will look to right-hander Curt Schilling to stop the skid Thursday night.

"He's definitely our ace," said closer Jonathan Papelbon, who allowed the Royals two runs in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 5-4 loss.

Schilling is aiming to break one of his own records. The Red Sox ace has gone 53 starts, dating to June 14, 2004, without allowing an unearned run. He accomplished the same feat from April 10, 2001, to July 5, 2002, a Major League record.

The Royals lead the all-time series against the Red Sox, 198-192. Boston is 86-110 in Kansas City and 76-96 at Kauffman Stadium since the venue opened in 1973.

Thursday's game marks the last meeting between the clubs in Kansas City this season. The Red Sox and Royals will play three more times in Boston from Sept. 8-10.

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Curt Schilling (14-4, 3.78 ERA)
The mark of a fine pitcher is sometimes made evident by the way he responds to adversity. In this situation, Schilling rebounded from his worst outing of the season (six earned runs over five innings) to hold the Rays to two runs through seven innings and claim his 14th win, tied for best in the Major Leagues. In 24 outings this season, Schilling's allowed more than four runs four times but lost just two of those decisions.

KC: RHP Runelvys Hernandez (2-7, 8.54 ERA)
Facing the Twins last Saturday, Hernandez had fine velocity on his fastball according to manager Buddy Bell. Trouble was, he couldn't locate it in the strike zone and walked nine to match a franchise record. He did it in just 4 2/3 innings during which he flung 108 pitches, just 52 of them strikes. Bell vowed to have pitching coach Bob McClure work on Hernandez's mechanics between starts.

Player to watch
Coco Crisp is 5-for-12 (.417) against Hernandez in his career with a triple and a home run.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WEEI 850 AM, WROL 950 AM (Español)

Up next
• Friday: Orioles (LHP Adam Loewen, 2-3, 5.72) at Red Sox (LHP David Wells, 0-2, 8.05), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Orioles (RHP Rodrigo Lopez, 8-12, 6.21) at Red Sox (RHP Jason Johnson, 3-11, 5.96), 1:20 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Orioles (TBA) at Red Sox (LHP Jon Lester, 5-2, 3.86), 2:05 p.m. ET

Kevin Druley is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.