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World Series 2001
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11/04/2001 04:26 AM ET
D-Backs report: Game 6
By Gary Rausch
MLB.com
Schilling (left) and Luis Gonzalez celebrate the closing moments of Game 6.

PHOENIX -- There would be no misunderstanding about Curt Schilling's status for Sunday's Game 7 of the World Series -- not from Arizona Manager Bob Brenly, and certainly not from Schilling.

"Unless something happens between now and (Sunday), Curt Schilling is starting the ball game," Brenly said minutes after the Diamondbacks dispatched the Yankees, 15-2, forcing a seventh game.

Schilling, who won Game 1 last Saturday, said he felt Brenly was unfairly chastised by many media members for removing him from Wednesday's Game 4 after seven innings. Closer Byung-Hyun Kim surrendered a game-tying home run in the ninth and a game-winning homer in the 10th.

Schilling was quoted in some circles as saying he was "spent" and in others that he "had another inning" in his right arm. It was a case of mixed signals. That won't happen Sunday.

"I always want to stay in the game," Schilling said. "Situations dictate what happens. I can't predict what it's going to be like in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings in tomorrow night's game."

Regardless, Schilling is facing the pitcher who probably influenced his career more than any other of his peers.

"If the Lord had sat me down in January of this year and asked me to script out a dream season, I couldn't have come up with this," Schilling said. "Game 7 against Roger Clemens, and everything's that's happened ... what Roger did for me and has done for me throughout my career, I couldn't have dreamt this. I'm not that big of a dreamer.

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"This might be like being in the essay finals against Hemingway or a paint-off against Picasso. It's Roger Clemens. It's Roger Clements and the Yankees, Game 7. Everybody that's ever played this sport at any level has had a Wiffle Ball in their hand at some point and said, it's the seventh game of the World Series and you're either pitching or hitting. How cool is that?"

Schilling's start against Clemens will pit 20-game winners in a World Series Game 7 for the first time since 1985. Schilling won 22 games in the regular season, Clemens 20. Schilling also would become the first pitcher to start three Series games since Minnesota's Jack Morris in 1991. A win would be Schilling's record fifth.

BUSINESS AS USUAL: "Nothing changes," said Diamondbacks managing general partner Jerry Colangelo about his preparation for Game 7. "I'm going to church in the morning. I'll be with the family after that and probably be at the ballpark by 1."

It's hardly like a Sunday home game during regular-season.

"It's my first Game 7," said the man who twice reached the NBA Finals as owner of the Phoenix Suns. "Two other times I've been here in the same situation where it was Game 6 and we got eliminated, by the Celtics in '76 and the Bulls in '93. It's just a thrill to be in a position to have a chance to win a championship when it gets down to one game."

Colangelo said he started thinking about Game 7 during the second and third innings Saturday. "When you get eight runs in an inning, you can't help but start thinking ahead. You feel pretty good about your chances when you've got Randy Johnson on the mound in a game like that.

"It's your dream to be in a situation where you have a shot to win it, and our time has come. We've got the shot. Twenty-four hours from now we're going to know."

Colangelo said he facetiously mentioned last week that he hoped the series would go the distance.

"The promoter in me says seven games. Well here it is. I got my wish, I guess, with a lot of aggravation in between."

ONE-GAME SEASON: Arizona players spoke matter-of-factly about the shocking, 15-2 rout of New York. The Yankees seemingly had momentum in their grasp but let go and the Diamondbacks scooped it up.

"I don't think there's any momentum," said first baseman Greg Colbrunn. "Momentum goes probably as far as tomorrow's starting pitchers. We win, we're World Champs. They win, they're World Champs."

WOMACK FOR MVP: There's a feeling in the D-Backs' clubhouse that shortstop Tony Womack is their most valuable player in the World Series.

"Tony was really the reason we had the opportunity to do what we did," Jay Bell said of Saturday's win. "He came through with a huge hit in the first and scored. Then he came through with a huge two-out base hit that scored two runs in the second. As far as I'm concerned, if we win tomorrow and we end up becoming the World Champs, he's my MVP."

Craig Counsell, a left-handed hitter, sat out because of lefty Andy Pettitte's dominance in his previous start against Arizona. He thought Womack set the tone in the first.

"For Tony to come out, as left-handed hitter, to hit a ball like that as the first hit of the game, is sending a message to the rest of us that we can get this guy today," Counsell said. Then Womack one-upped himself. "Tony's second at-bat, with the bases-loaded, was probably the biggest hit of the game.

"He's our sparkplug," David Dellucci said of Womack. "When he does well, I think it's easy for the guys behind him to follow his lead."

WHAT'S THE SCORE?: It's commonplace to ask Brian Anderson how his beloved Nebraska Cornhuskers are doing before D-Backs games on Saturday, Game 6 of the World Series notwithstanding.

"They're playing Kansas tonight. The fact Randy's got 170-some pitches to play with means I'll be in there watching on TV," Anderson said, pointing at the clubhouse.

And how much did he see of the Huskers' 51-7 romp? "Of the other rout?" he asked, smiling. "I saw enough. I'm very happy."

THE BELL RINGS AGAIN: With left-hander Andy Pettitte having great success against Arizona's left-handed hitters, Bob Brenly went with a near all-righty lineup that included Danny Bautista in center field, Greg Colbrunn at first base and Jay Bell at second.

Bell, a longtime regular who lost his starting position to Counsell, talked Friday of staying sharp as a role player and staying prepared for an opportunity.

"We'll see if we can make an impact tonight," he said before batting practice Saturday.

The Bautista-Bell-Colbrunn triumvirate produced six hits, scored four runs and drove in seven.

"It was so much more enjoyable playing than sitting on the bench, feeling that you have the opportunity to make some sort of impact," Bell said. "Tonight's game was a ton of fun. Depending if I play or not (Sunday), my job will be to encourage more hits for the guys. It should be a lot of fun."

A CAREER NIGHT: Randy Johnson's base hits are few and far between, but seeing their starting pitcher single, drive in a run and score a pair had the entire bench excited.

"Randy swings the bat awfully well, but you had a lot of guys chomping at the bit to get in there," David Dellucci said. "If he's going to join in (the hit parade), we want in, too. Really, I think that may have relaxed him a little more after he got the hit. Then we all hold our breath when he runs around the bases."

Dellucci made his World Series debut in the fourth inning, replacing Luis Gonzalez.

"I'm tickled to death," he said. "Had all my job been to pinch run for Gonzo, my dream would've come true. The fact I got a hit really makes me feel part of this whole thing. I hadn't had a whole lot of ABs in the playoffs, period. I get on first base and I look up in the stands and there's Mom standing there and Dad's giving me the thumbs-up. To see me get in, much less get a hit, really put smiles on their faces."

LONG TIME COMING: After 14 big-league seasons, Bobby Witt finally appeared in a World Series game. The 37-year-old right-hander replaced Randy Johnson and pitched a scoreless eighth inning.

"I was just waiting to get in there and it was nice to have the opportunity to pitch," Witt said. "It all depended on how much Randy wanted to go, it being his last game of the year and for what he's meant to the team. You never know, he might have wanted to finish and go nine, but with that type of run production I think he was satisfied with seven innings."

Gary Rausch is the site reporter for azdiamondbacks.com.