Pittsburgh's Al Martin calls Curt Schilling either the first, second or third best pitcher in baseball "depending on what kind of day he's having. Today, he was first."
Schilling allowed only two hits as the Philadelphia Phillies won their fourth straight, 3-1, over the Pirates Wednesday.
Schilling (7-7) struck out 10 and walked one as the Phillies swept a three-game series with the Pirates, who have lost five of their last six.
It was Schilling's 10th game this season with 10 or more strikeouts and the 39th of his career. Schilling leads the majors with seven complete games and 157 strikeouts.
"You know a fastball is coming, but you still can't hit it," said Martin, who was 0-for-4, including two strikeouts. That made him 2-for-24 (.083) with nine strikeouts lifetime against Schilling.
"He throws 97-98 mph, and hits spots," the Pirate outfielder said. "He just shoves it down your throat."
Schilling, who has gone at least seven innings in 15 of his 16 starts, also contributed at the plate, laying down a two-out bunt single that scored Bobby Abreu and gave the Phillies a two-run lead in the sixth.
"When I went to the plate, I was going to give it a shot," Schilling said. "I've bunted before but not with a guy on third. That was the only way he was going to score there."
Jason Kendall got both Pirate hits, a single in the first and a solo homer in the fourth. The Pirates were swept by the Phillies for the first time since a three-game sweep July 26-27, 1995.
The Phillies moved to .500 at 34-34. Last year, the Phillies were 22-45 on June 17, 21 games out of first place.
"It's two different clubs," Schilling said. "We've got a lot of young players who are good. Last year, we had a lot of young players who were trying to figure out if they were good."
Francisco Cordova (6-5) took the loss, giving up eight hits and three runs in 6 1-3 innings while striking out six and walking four, two of them intentional.
Gregg Jefferies went 3-for-4, stole two bases and scored a run for the Phillies, while Doug Glanville went 2-for-4, extending his hitting streak to 17 games.
The Phillies took a 2-0 lead in the second. Jefferies led off with a double and scored on a triple by Scott Rolen. Rolen then came home on Mike Lieberthal's sacrifice fly.
Kendall's solo homer in the third made it 2-1. He has hit in 19 of his last 22 games, going 31-for 80.
The Phillies made it 3-1 in the sixth when Abreu doubled and went to third on a fly ball. Schilling dropped a bunt down the third base line which Aramis Ramirez was unable to field cleanly as Abreu scored.
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