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Schilling guts one out in Game 210/25/2004 1:25 AM ET
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
BOSTON -- If Curt Schilling made his last start of the season for the Red Sox on Sunday night at Fenway Park, he made the most of it. The 37-year-old right-hander, blood staining his right stocking, left after six innings of one-run, four-hit ball and defeated the Cardinals, 6-2. Schilling pitched his second consecutive postseason game despite a serious right ankle injury, which has plagued him for the last two weeks. Before the game, The Associated Press reported that Boston team physician Bill Morgan said the procedure to stitch Schilling's torn tendon to the ankle might be too dangerous to repeat a third time, meaning Schilling could miss his projected Game 6 start next Saturday in Boston if the series goes that far. "Honestly, we may not be able to do it a third time," Morgan told the AP. "It depends on what his tissues look like."
The Red Sox lead the best-of-seven series, 2-0, with the next three games in St. Louis beginning on Tuesday night. Thus, Schilling having to pitch again might be moot. The Red Sox are trying to win their first World Series championship since 1918, an 86-year drought.Schilling tore the tendon sheath in his right ankle during Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Angels, and will need surgery to repair the damage after the postseason. During the procedure, doctors suture Schilling's tendon in place so it doesn't flop over his ankle. Last week, he had three stitches put in on Monday and removed a day later after his victory in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series against the Yankees. The procedure was duplicated on Saturday, but this time doctors added a fourth stitch that Schilling said affected a nerve, causing him considerable discomfort and pain in his foot. He was treated with painkillers and antibiotics to fight infection and figured when he awoke on Sunday morning he'd never be able to make his scheduled Game 2 start that night. "I couldn't walk. I couldn't move," he said. "I don't know what happened, but I knew that when I woke up there was a problem. I left for the park, and I told [my wife] that I wasn't going to go out on the mound with the way I felt today. There's no way, and that's kind of when everything just started."
Doctors removed the extra stitch, and at that point, Schilling began to regain his mobility. Another round of painkillers allowed him to be able to go out on the mound and make the start."We took that stitch out and things started to change almost immediately from that point," he said. Red Sox manager Terry Francona didn't contradict the words of his team physician, but said Schilling would continue to be evaluated. He hoped Schilling would be healthy and available to pitch again if needed. "Every time he pitches under these circumstances, he will certainly be evaluated by the medical staff. That's kind of common sense," Francona said. "As far as him pitching again, if his turn comes up, of course. I'd be getting a little ahead of myself. Again, we've kind of taken this one game at a time. If you're asking if I think he's healthy enough, of course." Schilling wasn't too sure, sounding much like a man who didn't want to embark on the same course of action for the third time. He said immediately after the game that he felt pretty "beat up" and that he even "tweaked a hip flexor a little bit" during the third inning. "My body is just breaking down on me right now," he said. "It's the first time in my life I think I've felt my age." Asked if he expected to pitch again, Schilling added: "I don't even want to think about that. In fact, I hope I don't have to pitch again. Maybe they won't need me. The guys will pick me up." Schilling gutted out his 94-pitch performance, allowing only an unearned run on four hits with one walk and four strikeouts. The Cardinals had an opportunity to knock him out early, but Scott Rolen hit a solid line drive that was snared by third baseman Bill Mueller after Albert Pujols had doubled with two out in the first inning. In the second, with one out and runners on first and second, again Mueller snared Mike Matheny's line drive and turned it into an unassisted double play. "I thought early, like the first two or three innings, he wasn't quite as sharp and we put a lot of hard balls in play," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "That's where I thought we deserved better than we got. After that, whenever we even got a smell, he made quality pitches."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.