St. Petersburg Times Online: Business

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

His pain Sox's gain

Despite another four errors, Boston's bats, pen and an ailing Curt Schilling are enough to ensure an easy win. RED SOX 6, CARDS 2

MARC TOPKIN
Published October 25, 2004

BOSTON - There's a chance Curt Schilling might not be able to make another start in the World Series.

The Red Sox might not need him.

With Schilling pitching six strong innings Sunday and the Cardinals struggling to find anyone who can pitch, the Red Sox took a 6-2 win and a two-games-to-none advantage in a Series that is starting to look as if it will be short.

Especially if the Sox find a way to make fewer than four errors, as they did in each of the first two games.

"We're halfway to where we want to be," reliever Mike Timlin said.

While Saturday's opener was a battle to see who would score last, the Red Sox took charge from the start Sunday and built their lead.

They scored two in three different innings, all on two-out hits: a first-inning triple by Jason Varitek, a fourth-inning double by Mark Bellhorn and a sixth-inning single by Orlando Cabrera.

And they got another night of solid work by their bullpen, with Alan Embree, Timlin and indefatigable Keith Foulke combining for the final nine outs.

But the key to victory was Schilling, who again pitched with sutures in his right ankle to stabilize a dislocated tendon and again pitched well, allowing four hits and an unearned run.

As it turned out, it took some more medical magic for Schilling to pitch at all.

"I honest to God did not think I was going to take the ball today; I didn't think I could," Schilling said. "When I walked out of the dugout to the bullpen, the most surprised person had to be my wife."

Schilling said that when he woke up unexpectedly at 7 a.m. Sunday, there was an obvious problem with the sutures, specifically a fourth one that was added since last week's original procedure.

"I wasn't going to go out on the mound with the way I felt today," he said.

He came down to Fenway Park, inspired by signs of encouragement he said were posted along the way, and met with the team medical staff, which determined that the additional suture had nicked a nerve. Once they removed that suture, the ankle loosened up.

"Things changed drastically," he said. "I went from hobbling to being able to walk. We numbed it up a little bit and just kind of went from there."

Before the game, team physician Bill Morgan told the Associated Press there was a possibility the suturing procedure might be causing too much damage and Schilling wouldn't be able to make a scheduled second start in Game 6.

Schilling said after the game he didn't know if he could.

"I'm a little beat up right now," the 37-year-old right-hander said. "For the first time in my life I felt my age. We'll see what happens."

The Sox aren't going to make too much of their advantage. Expect to hear plenty about how they're the last team to make a big deal about being up 2-0 since they just got done coming back from being down 0-3 to the Yankees in the AL Championship Series.

"We're not going to fall into a trap after winning the first two," Embree said. "You saw what happened with that Yankees."

But this looks different.

And the Cardinals look to be in trouble.

Of the 48 teams that have taken 2-0 leads, 37 have gone on to win, including 10 of the past 11. Of the 33 teams to take 2-0 leads at home, 28 have won.

"What 0-2 means is that we get another chance to play again," St. Louis catcher Mike Matheny said. "Things are just not going our way right now."

Since falling behind the Yankees 3-0, the Sox have won six consecutive postseason games. And they look to be in pretty good shape for a seventh when the Series resumes Tuesday in St. Louis, with Pedro Martinez facing Jeff Suppan, who is the best the Cardinals have to offer.

In the first two games, St. Louis starters have allowed 11 runs and 12 hits while working only 62/3 innings.

St. Louis manager Tony La Russa's decision to pitch Matt Morris on three days' rest didn't seem to work out too well, since Morris left in the fifth inning down 4-1, but La Russa insisted Morris was "outstanding" and victimized by isolated problems.

"We're disappointed we lost two games here," La Russa said.

GAME 3: Red Sox at Cardinals, 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Ch.13. Red Sox lead 2-0.

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.