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Wednesday, Apr. 4 10:10pm ET
D-Backs ride Schilling's strong outing to win

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Starting a season healthy was just as important to Curt Schilling as winning his first start.

Schilling, who missed the first month of last season recovering from shoulder surgery, struck out 12 in seven innings as the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-2 Wednesday night.

"I want to do what they're paying me to do, which is take the ball 35-40 times this year," Schilling said. "And if I can do that, I should be OK."

Schilling (1-0) allowed two runs – one earned – and four hits as the Diamondbacks won their second straight at Dodger Stadium. Luis Gonzalez gave him some breathing room with two home runs.

"I felt real good getting loose – to the point where I was a little nervous because I felt so good," Schilling said.

"I was a little concerned last week about the command of my fastball because it wasn't where I wanted it to be. Once I got into the bullpen tonight, I realized that you can't duplicate the feeling you get when you walk out for a real game. Then, all the loose ends seemed to tie up."

Schilling, beginning his first full season with Arizona, was 5-6 with a 3.69 ERA in 13 starts for the Diamondbacks in 2000 after coming over from Philadelphia.

"Last year we picked him up in a trade, and he was only half a season away from his surgery," Gonzalez said. "So now he's got a full year and a half since the surgery, and now we ride the big horse as long as we can."

The Diamondbacks broke open a 1-1 game in the fifth with five two-out runs against Darren Dreifort, making his season debut after signing a five-year, $55 million contract in the offseason.

"Dreifort obviously didn't have his best stuff tonight," Gonzalez said. "And when a guy as good as him is pitching like that, you've got to take advantage of it. We were able to string some hits together and get some key hits and have a big inning."

Tony Womack singled in a run, Mark Grace hit a bloop single to center for his first RBI with Arizona, Matt Williams doubled home a run and David Dellucci chased Dreifort with a bases-loaded two-run single that capped the rally. Womack had three hits.

Dreifort, who pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings against the Diamondbacks in a 1-0 victory the last time he faced them on Sept. 20, 2000, allowed six runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings.

"Obviously, I wanted to get off to a better start than that," said Driefort, the only pitcher to go 5-0 in spring training. "It was one of those nights when I had trouble putting people away. I felt good. I just got beat."

Gonzalez, whose two-run homer Tuesday night gave the Diamondbacks a 3-2 victory in their season opener, drove Dreifort's 1-0 pitch into the pavilion in right-center with two outs in the first inning. He homered again off Jose Nunez – his second homer off the rookie in two games – leading off the ninth.

The Dodgers, who have only 15 hits in their first three games, scored on a leadoff homer in the third by Paul Lo Duca and an RBI single by Eric Karros. The hit snapped a season-opening 0-for-9 stretch by Karros, which included five consecutive strikeouts.

Game notes
Schilling reached double digits in strikeouts for the 51st time in 245 career starts. He averaged nine complete games over the previous five seasons – but surrendered an average of 25 home runs over the last four years. ... Reliever Mike Morgan, beginning his 24th year of professional ball, pitched a perfect eighth inning in his season debut. The right-hander made his major league debut on June 11, 1978 – seven months and eight days before Arizona teammate Byung-Hyun Kim was born. ... Dodgers vice president and Hall of Fame manager Tom Lasorda was immortalized again Wednesday night – this time as a bobble-head doll, which was handed out to everyone in the crowd of 34,301. ... Dreifort allowed a team-high 31 homers last season in 192 2/3 innings – one more than he did in 358 2/3 innings over his previous two seasons combined. ... Dodgers reliever Matt Herges escaped his own bases-loaded jam by retiring Damian Miller on a fly to right in the seventh.

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