04/14/07 9:12 PM ET
Schilling shuts down the Angels
Ace scatters four hits through eight scoreless innings
By Mike Petraglia / Special to MLB.com
Schilling had used just 63 pitches through six innings to hold the Angels scoreless while his team had built a 5-0 lead. The right-hander was spotting all four of his pitches for strikes, and the Angels had no answers.
He was in line for his first complete-game shutout since 2004 before he was forced to throw 29 pitches in the seventh inning. Still, he managed to get out unscathed and eventually run his impressive streak of scoreless innings to 14, throwing just 103 pitches in the process.
"There was no doubt in my mind I was going to finish that game today," Schilling said. "I knew my pitch count was very low. I felt like if we executed, we'd be all right. I don't know many guys that can have a 29-pitch inning like that, but I didn't execute that inning as good as I could have, and that's the reason why I didn't get a chance to finish that game."
What really took a toll was an 11-pitch battle with Jose Molina. But as was the case all afternoon, Schilling came out on top, striking out the Angels catcher with Howie Kendrick on second to end the inning.
"The seventh inning was long for Schill," skipper Terry Francona said. "It was really the first extended inning of the game. He threw strikes, he stayed out of the middle and he really stayed out of a certain area. He changed locations, changed speed and changed pitches on all the hitters right from the beginning."
Schilling also retired 12 of the first 14 batters he faced.
"We had a good game plan going in -- [against] a very aggressive team, very aggressive lineup," Schilling said. "We executed [pitches] early."
"He commanded all of his pitches very well today," catcher Jason Varitek said. "That is always important, and he had his pitches working."
Early on, the Red Sox had trouble capitalizing on their chances, leaving the bases loaded in the second.
Then, after nearly watching another golden opportunity escape in the third, the Red Sox used some good fortune to break through.
Eric Hinske, getting the start at first base in place of Kevin Youkilis, opened the third with a triple to left-center. Angels starter Hector Carrasco appeared close to getting out of the jam when he fanned David Ortiz, and Manny Ramirez popped out to second.
But after J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell walked to load the bases again, Varitek hit a line drive to Gary Matthews Jr. in center. The ball glanced off Matthews for a two-run error.
"That ball definitely had some knuckle to it," Varitek said. "I was just trying to get a good swing on it, and we needed to get those runs in. That was a good feeling."
Though Carrasco (0-1) was the victim of bad luck in the third, he also didn't do himself any favors, walking six in his 3 1/3 innings.
Dustin Pedroia walked twice and scored in the fourth on a wild pitch by reliever Chris Bootcheck.
Ortiz added an RBI single in the sixth for Boston's first hit of the day with runners in scoring position after six attempts, then he crushed a three-run homer to straightaway center in the eighth to bring his RBI tally on the day to four.
"I thought I was going to leave town without hitting a home run," last year's American League home run champ joked.
Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.