PHOENIX (AP) -- Curt Schilling has a career-high 18 victories,
and still has at least eight starts to go.
So he's in no mood to bask in his success, not with his Arizona
Diamondbacks in the thick of a heated race in the NL West.
Schilling matched his season high with 13 strikeouts in eight
innings as the Diamondbacks beat Pittsburgh 5-2 Wednesday night to
complete a three-game sweep of the Pirates.
"I would love to get caught up in it, but I just can't afford
to right now," Schilling said, "not with where we're at and
what's going on."
With his split-finger fastball as effective as it's been all
season, Schilling (18-5) allowed two runs and six hits as Arizona
won its sixth in a row. He walked one.
"I think he threw only two, maybe three curveballs all night,"
Arizona manager Bob Brenly said. "He was able to locate that
fastball. He got them to chase some up high out of the strike zone,
then bounced the splitter in the dirt, and that's a deadly
combination. I tell you, he knows his stuff and he knows how to use
Schilling has given up no more than two runs in eight of nine
outings. He reached double-digits in strikeouts for the 10th time
this year and 60th time of his career.
Williams said he's never seen Schilling pitch better than he has
"He's got his curveball now," Williams said. "He's throwing
two different splits, one that goes in to a right-hander and one
that goes away from him. It must be a lot of fun out there for him
Brian Giles' two-run homer in the fourth gave Pittsburgh a brief
2-1 lead. The Diamondbacks scored four in the bottom half to regain
the lead for good.
"That kind of sent a message that you may get a couple off the
big boy, but you're going to have to deal with the rest of us,"
Junior Spivey had a solo homer in the first for Arizona.
Dave Williams (1-5) walked Spivey to lead off the fourth, then
was pounded for four consecutive hits. Williams allowed five runs
and six hits in seven innings.
"If I take out the fourth inning, and I pitch like I did the
rest of the game, the outcome would be a little different,"
Williams said, "but Schilling's a great pitcher. You're not going
to have many five-run ball games against him and come out a
Luis Gonzalez doubled off the center-field wall, then both
runners scored on Grace's single to put Arizona ahead 3-2. Matt
Williams' home run on his first pitch, his 12th homer of the season
and sixth in 15 games, made it 5-2. Reggie Sanders hit another
double off the wall in center but did not score.
Aramis Ramirez, who had two hits off Schilling, singled with one
out in the fourth. Giles followed with a 428-foot blast, his 28th
homer of the season and the 31st off Schilling.
"We played a pretty good team and they kicked us," Pittsburgh
manager Lloyd McClendon said, "but we're not going to hang our
heads. I saw a lot of positive things out there. I see a lot of
bright things that we're building for the future."
Schilling was 17-11 with Philadelphia in 1997 and 16-7 in
1993. ... Schilling and Randy Johnson are a combined 34-10. ... The
Pirates are 25 games under .500 for the first time since Sept. 30,
1995. ... Pittsburgh has been swept 10 times this season. ... The
Pirates hit a girder and hit a ball over the girder on the Bank One
Ballpark roof. A pop fly by Giles grazed the girder before SS Craig
Counsell caught it, and a pop foul by Gary Matthews Jr. sailed over
a girder. ... Matt Williams' has 358 home runs to tie him with Yogi
Berra for 56th on the career list. ... McClendon has changed his
mind and blames Arizona catcher Mike DiFelice for igniting the
fight with Kevin Young at home plate Tuesday. "That guy
deliberately stood on Kevin and kneed it. There's absolutely no
excuse for that."