06/07/07 10:33 PM ET
Schilling throws one-hitter vs. A's
Red Sox ace comes within one out of his first no-hitter
By Rick Eymer / Special to MLB.com
"It was an interesting day," said Epstein. "This is the one day where none of us really get to see the big-league game. We were all in the Draft room and we had the game on outside the room and kept kind of poking our head out and getting updates and trying not to jinx things. It was funny, because the ninth inning came around right when the 55th pick was about to be selected. We were trying to do two things at once.
"We actually closed the door to the Draft room with one out in the ninth inning and asked people not to make noise outside no matter what happened in the big-league game. We actually saw the base hit right before we selected. It was great to be able to see our club win and than have two guys we weren't sure would be at our pick get there at 55 and 62. All in all, it was a good day."
Schilling already owns a spot in Red Sox lore and now he's mentioned in the same breath as Billy Rohr and Rick Wise, the only other pitchers in Sox history to come within an out of a no-hitter. Rohr did it in his Major League debut on April 14, 1967, while Wise did it on July 2, 1975."I needed to pitch well and get consistent and we needed to win," Schilling said. "After the fourth or fifth inning, I'm aware of it. It's not something that dictates pitch selection, though. I just felt good late in the game. My velocity got better and my stuff got sharper as the game wore on. After the seventh inning, it was cool. With two outs in the ninth, I was sure." The Red Sox's ace was one out away from putting his name in the history books, but a single got past a diving Alex Cora. "I needed 10 more inches," Cora said. "When I saw the play on television, I looked so bad. We sure needed Curt to pitch like that. He was great." David Ortiz supplied all the offense, booming a home run over the center-field fence with two outs in the first inning. Ortiz also didn't realize Schilling was working on a no-hitter until the ninth inning. "I'm glad I didn't know because I get nervous," Ortiz said. "For some reason, I looked up at the board with one out in the ninth and saw all those zeroes. I kept looking until I saw the zero under the 'H.' I turned around and the guys were shushing me. Then I was getting nervous, and that's not a good feeling." Ortiz has hit safely in eight straight and had six hits in 14 at-bats against the A's, including two home runs and two doubles. "Twenty-five guys and 24 of them were watching the game," a smiling Cora chided. "He's the only one not watching." Mike Lowell and Coco Crisp each turned in a defensive play that helped Schilling keep his no-hitter intact. In the seventh, a ball took a bad hop on Lowell, but he was able to keep it in front and threw out Mark Ellis. In the sixth, Crisp ran down Mark Kotsay's ball just in front of the center-field fence, making an over-the-shoulder catch. Schilling threw a one-hitter in 1992 and another in 2002. It was also his 20th career shutout, and the first since May 14, 2003. This was the 104th start he's made since then. Oakland starter Joe Blanton (5-4) allowed only one run on four hits over 7 1/3 innings. Blanton retired 16 of 18 hitters between the first and seventh innings. For Schilling, it was just a matter of focus. "I stunk on Saturday," he said of his performance against the Yankees. "I was good today."
Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. Ian Browne contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.