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World Series 2001
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10/10/2001 05:47 PM ET
Schilling makes quick work of Cards
By Ken Gurnick
Curt Schilling improved to 2-1 in five postseason starts.
  • Video Highlights: 56k | 300k
  • Schilling Highlights: 56k | 300k
  • Box score

    PHOENIX -- Damian Miller, who as catcher had the best view in the house of Curt Schilling's three-hit shutout Tuesday night, knows what he'd be thinking if he was in the St. Louis Cardinals clubhouse.

    "Oh man, we've lost the first game and we've got to face Randy Johnson tomorrow," Miller said after Schilling's masterpiece and Steve Finley's clutch two-out RBI single in the fifth inning gave the Arizona Diamondbacks a 1-0 win in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.

    "Coming into the series, they weren't looking forward to the first two games. It's not easy facing those guys. I like our chances."

    No kidding.

    Cardinals 0 3 1
    Diamondbacks 1 8 1
    WP: Schilling (1-0)
    LP: Morris (0-1)
    SV: None

    HR: None

    In a tense pitcher's duel that fulfilled the promise of opposing 22-game winners, Schilling was just a little better than Matt Morris. Shilling struck out nine, walked one, delivered an important sacrifice bunt with two strikes that set up the only run and pitched through a stiffening hip.

    It was his first postseason appearance since a five-hit shutout over Toronto for Philadelphia in Game Five of the 1993 World Series.

    "Schilling was just masterful," said St. Louis Manager Tony La Russa. "A real pitcher. He did everything he had to do with the baseball. Both pitchers were great, he was a little greater."

    Schilling, who the previous day said this is the time of year when big-money players step up, backed his words with action. He struck out nine (Mark McGwire twice), walked one and did not allow a Cardinal past second base in his first complete game since July 31.

    Schilling's son hospitalized
    PHOENIX -- Curt Schilling's dazzling performance in Tuesday's opening game of the National League Division Series came despite the fact that the right-hander's young son, Grant, was in intensive care the night before with an undisclosed illness.

    After tossing a five-hit shutout in Arizona's 1-0 win over St. Louis, Schilling told the The Arizona Republic that Grant, who turns two on Saturday, had to be hospitalized on Sunday. He said Grant was released from the hospital Tuesday but that he preferred to keep the details staff

    Give Manager Bob Brenly credit for resisting the temptation to wear out his aces down the stretch of the regular season. He kept to his pitch count and saved the late innings for an erratic bullpen. Schilling said he feels fresher now than he would otherwise at the end of the season.

    "Definitely, that's a part of it," said Schilling. "There were seven or eight games this year that I could have finished, but we went to the bullpen and obviously that's paying off now."

    Of course, give Brenly credit for not going to that bullpen in this game, even when La Russa dared him by walking Miller with two outs and runners on first and second to load the bases in the bottom of the eighth inning and Schilling's spot coming up.

    Diamondbacks fans booed Matt Williams after going 0-for-4 in this game, there's no telling what they would have done had Brenly batted for Schilling with a three-hit shutout and Game 1 on the line.

    "He was the guy I wanted out there in the ninth inning," said Brenly, who left Schilling in to ground out. "He deserved the chance to finish the game."

    Give Brenly an assist on Finley, too.

    Finley had three hits, including the game-winner. It was a performance that underscored an erratic season in which he lost his job during a first-half slump but won it back when given another chance by Brenly. The decisive single to center off Morris scored Miller, who was hit by a pitch leading off and advanced to second on Schilling's sacrifice bunt.

    "We stuck with him when things were going rough, and he repaid the faith I had in him," Brenly said of Finley.

    Despite multiple scoring opportunities, that was the only run Arizona could muster in seven innings off Morris, who pitched out of four other jams with a runner on third base. Morris shook off attempts by Diamondbacks hitters to interrupt his rhythm by stepping out of the batters box and was toughest with runners on base. For the game, the Diamondbacks were 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

    But the Cardinals were 0-for-6.

    "I felt this would be a one-run game and every time they had runners in scoring position, my thought process was that the game was on the line and I need to make a pitch," said Schilling.

    Schilling's worst scare came with two outs in the eighth inning, when shortstop Tony Womack fielded Fernando Vina's bouncer and needlessly rushed a throw into a two-base error.

    Placido Polanco followed with a scorching liner to right field that was hit so hard it carried into Sanders' glove for the final out to end the inning.

    "I thought two things when he hit it," said Schilling. "First, base hit. Then, no, he hit it hard enough it should be caught."

    The Cardinals were not helped by the presence of the injured, slumping and mentally "fried" Mark McGwire, who went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

    Schilling's teammates didn't help him much offensively, either. A cautionary tone was sounded in the first inning, when Finley followed Womack's leadoff walk with a double that bounced high over McGwire's head.

    Second and third with no outs, the heart of the batting order eager to drive them in and the only question for the Diamondbacks was how many runs they would spot Schilling.

    The answer was none.

    Luis Gonzalez, an MVP candidate who hit .387 this year with runners in scoring position and fewer than two outs, struck out on a curveball at his ankle. Reggie Sanders popped weakly to McGwire in foul ground. Mark Grace bounced to McGwire, whose underhand toss to Morris beat Grace to first.

    That either settled down Morris, or fired him up, because he proceeded to mow down 10 consecutive Diamondback hitters.

    The string was snapped by Sanders' one-out double down the third-base line in the bottom of the fourth inning, but it was Sanders' legs that created the real jam. As Albert Pujols retrieved the double in the left-field corner, Sanders took a huge turn at second and ventured about 30 feet toward third, assuming Pujols would return the ball toward third base.

    He didn't. Pujols instead threw behind Sanders, who scampered back to second base, where McGwire, trailing the play, was covering. As Sanders slid back into the bag, Pujols' throw hit him in the back and bounced into right field as Sanders headed into third.

    Mark Grace followed with a walk, but the runners stayed at first and third when Matt Williams struck out for the second time and Craig Counsell bounced out.

    Edgar Renteria caused Schilling his first two anxious moments, singling off Williams' glove in the third and doubling off the wall in center in the fifth. Both times Schilling stranded Renteria at second, getting key outs from Fernando Vina and Mike Matheny.

    Jim Edmonds doubled with one out in the seventh, but McGwire bounced harmlessly to third and Renteria fanned on a 2-2 fastball.

    And now the Cardinals -- with the former home run record holder an automatic out -- get Johnson. Aren't they lucky?

    "I feel bad for the Cardinals," said Miller.

    Sure he does.

    Ken Gurnick is a regional writer for based in Los Angeles.

    Box score

    ST LOUIS               ab  r  h rbi bb so lob   avg
    Vina 2b                 4  0  0  0   0  1   1  .000
    Polanco 3b              4  0  0  0   0  1   1  .000
    Drew rf                 3  0  0  0   1  1   0  .000
    Pujols lf               4  0  0  0   0  0   1  .000
    Edmonds cf              4  0  1  0   0  2   1  .250
    Mcgwire 1b              3  0  0  0   0  2   1  .000
    Renteria ss             3  0  2  0   0  1   1  .667
    Matheny c               2  0  0  0   0  0   2  .000
     a-Cairo ph             1  0  0  0   0  0   0  .000
     Stechschulte p         0  0  0  0   0  0   0  .000
     Veres p                0  0  0  0   0  0   0  .000
    Morris p                1  0  0  0   0  1   1  .000
     b-Marrero ph-c         1  0  0  0   0  0   0  .000
    Totals                 30  0  3  0   1  9   9
    a-popped to first for Matheny in the 8th; b-grounded to
    shortstop for Morris in the 8th.
    BATTING: 2B - Renteria (1, Schilling); Edmonds (1, Schilling). S
    - Morris. Runners left in scoring position, 2 out - Vina 1,
    Morris 1, Renteria 1, Polanco 1.  Team LOB - 5.
    FIELDING: E - Pujols (1, throw). 
    ARIZONA                ab  r  h rbi bb so lob   avg
    Womack ss               3  0  1  0   1  0   1  .333
    Finley cf               4  0  3  1   0  0   0  .750
    Gonzalez lf             4  0  0  0   0  1   5  .000
    Sanders rf              4  0  2  0   0  0   2  .500
    Grace 1b                3  0  2  0   1  0   2  .667
    M Williams 3b           4  0  0  0   0  2   4  .000
    Counsell 2b             4  0  0  0   0  1   5  .000
    Miller c                2  1  0  0   1  1   0  .000
    Schilling p             3  0  0  0   0  2   3  .000
    Totals                 31  1  8  1   3  7  22
    BATTING: 2B - Finley (1, Morris); Sanders (1, Morris); Grace (1,
    Morris). S - Schilling. RBI - Finley (1). 2-out RBI - Finley.
    Runners left in scoring position, 2 out - Grace 2, Counsell 2,
    Gonzalez 1, Schilling 2.  Team LOB - 11.
    FIELDING: E - Womack (1, throw). 
        St Louis       - 000 000 000  --  0
        Arizona        - 000 010 00X  --  1
    ST LOUIS                     ip       h   r  er  bb  so  hr    era
    Morris (L, 0-1)               7       6   1   1   2   6   0   1.29
    Stechschulte                    1/3   2   0   0   0   0   0   0.00
    Veres                           2/3   0   0   0   1   1   0   0.00
    ARIZONA                      ip       h   r  er  bb  so  hr    era
    Schilling (W, 1-0)            9       3   0   0   1   9   0   0.00
    IBB - Miller (by Veres). HBP - Miller (by Morris). 
    Pitches-strikes: Schilling 101-74; Morris 122-77; Stechschulte
    8-8; Veres 11-4.  Ground balls-fly balls: Schilling 10-8; Morris
    7-8; Stechschulte 0-1; Veres 1-0.  Batters faced: Schilling 32;
    Morris 30; Stechschulte 3; Veres 3. 
    UMPIRES: HP--Randy Marsh. 1B--John Hirschbeck. 2B--Larry Young.
    3B--Tim Tschida. LF--Dale Scott. RF--Alfonso Marquez.
    T--2:36.  Att--42,251.   Weather: 82 degrees, clear.   Wind: 6
    mph, right to left.