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Short night for Schilling10/13/2004 1:20 AM ET
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
NEW YORK - Curt Schilling's goal was to silence 55,000 fans at Yankee Stadium.
Instead, they were roaring.
Schilling lasted only three innings Tuesday night as the Yankees peppered him for six runs in the opening game of the American League Championship Series.
Although Schilling had declared his aching right ankle would not be a factor, he certainly didn't look like the pitcher who was such a dominating presence in previous postseason appearances.
And after the 10-7 loss, Schilling admitted he had trouble driving off the rubber. His pregame session in the bullpen was a warning.
"I warmed up horribly for whatever that's worth," he said.
A power push-off just wasn't there.
"I tried to adjust and I couldn't," Schilling said. "I'd been looking forward to this for a year and it's incredibly disappointing."
The Yankees clipped him for two runs in the first inning after two outs.
From their dugout, manager Joe Torre noted that Schilling fell behind the first hitter, Derek Jeter, and then gave up a pretty good drive to him that was caught in right-center field.
"I just thought we were prepared to go up against him," Torre said. "You can't think in huge terms against him because you're not going to hit home runs and stuff. You're going to have to take what he gives you and I thought we had some really good at-bats. We made him work hard, I guess."
Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui delivered back-to-back doubles for the first run and Bernie Williams lined an RBI single for a 2-0 lead.
"He just didn't look right," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "We were trying to give him every opportunity because his heart's so big and he has the ability to reach back."
Schilling got through the second inning in apple-pie order but got burned in the third.
Jeter and Alex Rodriguez each singled and Sheffield walked, loading the bases. They were promptly unloaded as Matsui sent a line drive rocketing into the wall while right fielder Trot Nixon slipped during his pursuit.
The three-run double was followed by Williams' groundout, which moved Matsui to third. He scored on Jorge Posada's sacrifice fly for a 6-0 lead.
Schilling walked John Olerud before getting Miguel Cairo to fly out on his 58th and final pitch of the night.
"We talked when he came out," Francona said. "I don't think he was hurting, he just wasn't right, wasn't driving."
Schilling was so downhearted, he cast doubt on his ability to pitch again in this series.
"If I can't give them better than I did today, I won't go out there," he said.
The ankle wraps and the injection of medicine didn't work for Schilling.
"I was bad in the bullpen but stuff-wise I thought I had enough to go out and win," he said. "I just couldn't get the ball to come out of my hand like I wanted to."
This became the shortest postseason outing of Schilling's career. Never before, as he compiled a 6-1 playoff record with a 1.74 ERA, had he failed to get into the seventh inning. But this time Curtis Leskanic emerged from the bullpen to pitch the fourth.
By the sixth inning, the Yankees had an 8-0 lead, nicking knuckleballer Tim Wakefield for two runs in the sixth. That, of course, didn't last when right-hander Mike Mussina's perfect game dissolved during a five-run Red Sox seventh.
Schilling, though, was far from perfect.
"They beat me," he said. "I thought Moose was freaking phenomenal."
And, in the end, those 55,000 folks -- well, 56,135 to be exact -- were still screaming.
"I knew going in that I was going to get the juice and the adrenaline," Schilling said.
"It was electric, it was everything I thought it would be. I just couldn't make it work."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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