Thursday, September 06, 2001

Schilling stifles Bonds in 20th win

        SAN FRANCISCO — Curt Schilling became baseball's first 20-game winner, striking out 12 as the Arizona Diamondbacks kept Barry Bonds in check and beat the San Francisco Giants 7-2 Wednesday night.

        Schilling (20-6) won 20 for the first time in his 14-year career, holding the Giants to one run and five hits over eight innings.

        “It's as big a game as I've pitched in a long time,” Schilling said. “I came to the park today, and it just became like a playoff game. I felt that intensity, and I tried to use it.”

        He retired his final 14 batters, thoroughly dominating the Giants and snapping Arizona's four-game losing streak in the process. Schilling said that getting his 20th victory was only important because of the lift it gave his team.

        “As far as 20, I've got four (starts) left, and each one is going to be as big or bigger than this one,” he said.

        The first 20-game winner in Arizona's history also had a career-best three hits and scored two runs, though manager Bob Brenly confessed to nervousness at watching his star pitcher run around the bases so much.

        “He's done it all year long, and in probably no bigger game than tonight,” Brenly said. “For him to step up and work through that lineup as efficiently as he did was huge for us.”

        After losing the series opener on Tuesday night, Arizona pushed its NL West lead back to 2 1/2 games over the Giants, who remained a half-game behind the Cubs in the wild card race.

        Bonds must wait at least another day to become the fifth player in baseball history to hit 60.

        Schilling struck out Bonds in the first inning, walked him in the third and got him on a fly to center in the fifth.

        “It's always an extra charge facing (Bonds),” Schilling said. “You try to avoid him being up in a situation where he can tie or beat you.”

        Bonds left without speaking to reporters.


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