10/03/2002 8:56 pm ET
Schilling deserved better
Starter gives up one run over seven innings
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Curt Schilling lived up to his reputation as a big-game pitcher Thursday as he all but shut down the Cardinals in Game 2 of the National League Division Series.
Unfortunately for Schilling and the Diamondbacks, it wasn't good enough. The Cardinals snapped a 1-1 tie in the ninth on Miguel Cairo's RBI single and edged the Diamondbacks, 2-1, in front of 48,856 at Bank One Ballpark.
After the Diamondbacks lost Game 1 of the series, players and management expressed optimism knowing that Schilling was going to take the ball in Game 2. In the postseason last year, Schilling had gone 4-0 and pitched well in a critical Game 5 against the Cards in the NLDS and in Game 7 of the World Series against the Yankees.
Thursday, Schilling allowed just one run -- a J.D. Drew homer in the third -- in seven innings, walking just one and striking out seven. An impressive performance, but thanks to a lack of run support, not a winning one.
"It's exactly what we expected from Curt Schilling," Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly said. "You've got to tip your cap to J.D. Drew, that was not your typical hanging home run pitch. It was a fastball over the plate, down below the knees. It was a real nice piece of hitting on Drew's part to get it. Other than that, I thought Schill was tremendous. He did exactly what we needed him to do."
Schilling, who went 23-7 during the regular season, set the tone in the first inning when, after Fernando Vina reached on an infield single, he proceeded to strike out the side.
Drew's home run with two outs in the third, came on a 2-2 fastball and traveled 367 feet into the seats in left.
"It was a perfect pitch," catcher Damian Miller said. "Just tip your hat to J.D. Drew on the home run. Curt executed the pitch and threw it where he wanted to, and J.D. just put a good swing on it. It was down and away, below the knees, it probably wasn't even a strike, but J.D.'s a pretty good hitter."
Said Schilling, "The ball that J.D. hit out was a ball I've gotten him out with quite a bit. I made the pitch I wanted to make. I still got beat."
The only real jam of the game for the right-hander came in his final inning of work.
A two-out walk to Drew in the seventh, loaded the bases with the always-dangerous Jim Edmonds at the plate. Miller then went to the mound to pay Schilling a visit.
"I went out to the mound and he said, 'This is the ballgame right here,'" Miller said. "It was just a classic matchup. He's a big-game pitcher. I'm sure he was looking forward to being out there today. It was on his shoulders and he did his job. We just didn't score runs for him."
Edmonds, who homered in Game 1 off Randy Johnson, worked the count to 2-2, before swinging through a split-finger fastball for strike three.
"That was one of the best confrontations I've ever seen," first baseman Mark Grace said. "That was fun to watch."
The series now shifts to St. Louis for Game 3 and, if necessary, Game 4. Should the Diamondbacks manage to win those two games, Schilling would be called on to start Game 5 at Bank One Ballpark on short rest.
And while Schilling said after Thursday's game that he'd be ready for such an assignment, he was still trying to come to terms with the loss. He was also kicking himself for failing to get a sacrifice bunt down in the fifth inning. Instead, catcher Mike Matheny was able to throw Miller out trying to advance to second.
The next batter, Tony Womack, drove a single to left that could have scored Miller.
"I felt good," he said. "Today my best wasn't good enough. You know, it's disappointing. I mean I made my pitches for the most part. I had a chance to move a runner over, get a bunt down. You saw it last year in Game 7 of the World Series, fundamentals win and lose games. I thought today was an example of that."
Steve Gilbert is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.