Now, NL All-Star manager Bruce Bochy has only a few nights to sleep on a tough decision.
Schilling made his case for starting the All-Star Game, winning his fifth straight start Friday night and tying Randy Johnson for the NL lead with his seventh complete game as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-2.
"I was pretty hyped for this game," said Schilling (13-4), who also tied St. Louis' Kent Bottenfield for the NL lead in wins. "There were a couple of guys over there that, with the utmost respect, I was looking forward to facing. Cal is one of the guys I've always measured big-league ballplayers against."
Schilling gave up eight hits against the team he made his major-league debut for in 1988. He struck out five and walked two, making Bochy's choice of a starting pitcher for Tuesdays' All-Star Game difficult.
"There's a couple of guys who deserve it," said Schilling, whose scheduled start was moved up a day to give him a chance to pitch in the All-Star Game. "If I don't start, whoever does is going to deserve it."
The orioles, who exercised Ripken's $6.3 million option before the game, have lost four straight and 14 of 16.
Ripken, facing Schilling for the first time, was 2-for-4. He was not available after the game.
Orioles manager Ray Miller applauded the performances of Ripken and Harold Baines, who drove in Baltimore's second run with a groundout in the ninth. But oncagain, he was left to explain a poor night of pitching. Starter Juan Guzman (4-7) walked a season-high seven, and reliever Gabe Molina walked the bases loaded, setting up the Phillies' two-run seventh.
"You've got to develop your young pitchers, and that's what we're doing," said Miller, who then alluded to his future with the Orioles. "But I don't know if I'll be around to see them."
Schilling, on his second five-game winning streak of the season, retired the first 10 batters before Mike Bordick singled with one out in the fourth. Bordick scored on Belle's groundout.
Ripken led off the seventh with an infield single, beating shortstop Alex Arias' throw to first. But Schilling got pinch-hitter Brady Anderson to line out on a 3-1 pitch to end the inning and protect the one-run lead.
Who should Bochy pick as his starter? Schilling, coming off consecutive 300-strikeout seasons, is second only to Johnson in strikeouts and has four more victories. The Big Unit has one more start before the break, pitching Saturday.
"That's hard to compare," said Phillies catcher Mike Lieberthal, also an All-Star. "A left-hander who throws 98 mph, or a right-hander who throws 97 mph."
After Molina walked the bases loaded with no outs in the seventh, Lieberthal got his team-high 61st RBI with a sacrifice fly off Scott Kamieniecki. Marlon Anderson's single made it 4-1.
Schilling was helped by several outstanding defensive plays.
Bobby Abreu made a diving catch on Jerry Hairston's leadoff liner to right in the first.
Gold Glove third baseman Scott Rolen made the play of the night in the fourth. He charged Hairston's high chopper, snared it barehanded and threw in one motion to first for the out.
"They caught everything," Schilling said.
Hairston was robbed a third time when Anderson caught his liner in the hole between first and second in the sixth. Rolen got the next out by reaching into the stands for B.J. Surhoff's foul pop.
Finally, first baseman Rico Brogna made a fantastic short-hop play near the line on Baines' RBI groundout in the ninth.
"The first baseman is unbelievable," Miller said. "You just can't get a ball past him."
Guzman allowed two runs -- on Abreu's double in the first -- and four hits in six innings. >
- The Phillies (46-38) are eight games above .500 for the first time since 1995. They are assured of their best record at the All-Star break since '95, when they were 39-29.
- WWF wrestler "Stone Cold" Steve Austin took batting practice against Phillies manager Terry Francona three hours before the game.
- Phillies pitcher Carlton Loewer , on the disabled list with a stress fracture in the humerus of his throwing arm, could begin throwing off the mound in 2-4 weeks.
- Attendance was 28,182.
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