Yankees off pitch as Schilling seizes the moment

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The Independent Online

Curt Schilling pitched like a dream and his Arizona team made the New York Yankees look like bumbling rookies on Saturday night when, in a wholly unexpected opening to the World Series, the Yankees – champions for four out of the last five years – completely broke down, making it easy for the Diamondbacks to romp home with an unlikely 9-1 scoreline.

"Just getting a win in Game One was huge," the Arizona manager, Bob Brenly, said. "But I don't think there is any carry-over effect from the score." The usually safe-handed Yankees gave up five unearned runs – the most in a World Series game since 1973 – and nearly all the tactics tried by their manager, Joe Torre, backfired. "A lot of my moves worked... for the other team," he said. The Diamondbacks, playing their first World Series in only their fourth year of existence, took advantage and beat a team that had won 16 of their last 17 World Series games.

Schilling began the game by standing behind the mound and saying a prayer. He also tucked a chain given him by his deceased father – for whom Schilling always leaves a ticket when he pitches – into his jersey. Then, he went to work. Featuring a 97mph fastball and a good splitter, he threw 102 pitches. The last time the Yankees were held to three or fewer hits in a Series game was in 1963, when Don Drysdale of the LA Dodgers threw a three-hit shutout in a 1-0 victory.

"I know all about the history of the Yankees," Schilling said. "But I wasn't pitching against Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle. I was pitching against these Yankees." After Schilling gave up a run in the first innings, Craig Counsell, the MVP of the National League Championship Series – and a vital member of the 1997 World Series-winning Florida Marlins – homered with one man out to make it 1-1. A two-run home run off the New York starter Mike Mussina by Luis Gonzalez gave Arizona a 3-1 lead in the third.

After a single by Reggie Sanders, an error by the Yankees right-fielder David Justice opened the door for two more runs. Mussina was replaced by left-hander Randy Choate, who allowed four more runs in the fourth.

Schilling could be back on the mound as soon as Wednesday night, replacing Miguel Batista in Game Four and pitching on three days' rest.

"It's the World Series," Schilling said. "Three days rest or four days rest, I'm not really sure it's going to make a whole lot of difference. I'll be rested whenever he gives me the ball."

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