10/26/07 12:15 AM ET
Red Sox Short Hops: Game 2
Behind Schilling, patient bats give Boston 2-0 Series lead
By Jason Beck / MLB.com
While Curt Schilling battled through 5 1/3 innings, the Red Sox's walks created scoring chances until Mike Lowell's two-out single in the fifth put Boston ahead for good. Frozen moment
Just when the Rockies had a late-inning baserunner to kill the momentum surging through Fenway Park, one quick throw over from Jonathan Papelbon extinguished that sign of life. Matt Holliday, after hitting his fourth single of the game, strayed too far off of first base, and as soon as Papelbon fired to first, he was doomed. Not a bad time for Papelbon's first career pickoff. Big number
5 -- Walks drawn off effectively wild Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez in 4 2/3 innings. Both Boston runs reached base via walk, including David Ortiz to start the two-out fifth-inning scoring opportunity that broke a 1-1 tie and knocked Jimenez out of the game. Game balls
Proving again that the biggest outs of a close postseason game don't necessarily come in the ninth inning, Okajima entered with two on and one out in the sixth and retired all seven batters he faced, including a three-pitch strikeout of Brad Hawpe to end the sixth in what proved to be Colorado's best threat after the first. He might well be the second-most valuable pitcher next to Josh Beckett for the Red Sox in October.
Call him a different pitcher, but the result was the same. His fastball topped out in the low 90s on a few occasions, but it was his splitter that frustrated Rockies hitters and gave the Red Sox a chance to win a low-scoring game. He was coolly efficient after a 22-pitch first inning, including three straight first-pitch outs after a leadoff single in the fourth, and he didn't allow an extra-base hit.
No, as he said before the game, he's not a fast runner, but he was a smart one on Thursday. By going from first to third on J.D. Drew's single in the fourth, Lowell set up Jason Varitek's game-tying sacrifice fly. An inning later, he waited for Jimenez to fall behind in the count, then lined a 2-1 pitch to left for the go-ahead RBI.
Sense of October
Schilling always seems to have an appreciation for the fans at Fenway, but the reception he received when he tipped his cap on his way off the mound in the sixth showed more than the usual appreciation back. If this ends up being Schilling's last start in a Red Sox uniform, that will be a lasting image.
2 AB, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 HBP
Comment: He neither scored nor drove in a run, but he reached base in all four of his plate appearances. His one-out single moved Lowell to third for Varitek's sacrifice fly.
2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 4 Ks
Comment: That bridge from the starter to the closer is looking pretty sturdy right now.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.