Curt Schilling’s reaction after striking out Todd Pratt in the sixth with two on. At the time, Pratt represented the tying run. The offense took over in the seventh and eighth to put this one completely out of reach. Schilling struggled allowing 3 runs on 8 hits, two of them long-balls, over his six innings. It wasn’t dominating, in fact it was pretty shaky, but maybe, just maybe, its what the team needs going into a crucial Yankees series.

Too many times this season the games have been decided, for better or worse, on the play of one individual or one aspect of the game, be it hitting, fielding or pitching. Yesterday showed a real team effort. Granted the score ended up lopsided, but it wasn’t until late in the game that anyone could breathe easy. Schilling struggled early but was picked up in the third by four runs, back-to-back two-out ground-rule doubles by Manny and Nomar being the big hits. The defense was OK, one harmless error by Youkilis, and Tek threw out a runner trying to steal.

The point is, everyone contributed. Everyone did at least as much that they had to to win the ballgame. The hitters didn’t sit back and rely on Schilling to put up all zeros. The defense didn’t play half-assed assuming a ten-run output. The pitching didn’t go up there and throw softballs assuming the fielders would make every play and the hitters would put up big numbers. Team effort.

The offense did start out slow, but once they get rolling, look out. Ortiz had a double and a home-run. Nomar had a two-run double. Manny is on a Manny-like tear that has “triple crown” written all over it. And his numbers will continue to get better with Ortiz and a healthy Nomar hitting on either side of him. 10 of their 12 RBI were with two outs, and an amazingly low three runners left on base. Damon and Youk each had a couple of hits. Embree, Timlin and Foulke finished the game, none looking particularly sharp, but sharp enough. Team effort.

Another Mundane off-day today, then its back to the Bronx. This series is as big as a pre-all-star break series can be. The Sox dominated the Yankees early on, but face it, New York was not playing like New York back then. This will be a test. A test the Red Sox must pass as a team. They must win the series. They don’t need a sweep, but they must win two. As a team.