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Schilling Shines In Debut

Pennant-race pressure and a bases-loaded jam brought out the best in Curt Schilling, and the three-time All-Star won his first start for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Schilling punched the air with his fist in jubilation when he struck out Preston Wilson with the bases loaded to end the fifth inning, and Arizona went on to beat the Florida Marlins 4-1 Friday night.

The Diamondbacks, who began the game one percentage point behind San Francisco, regained a half-game lead in the NL West. The Giants beat Chicago 2-0 earlier in the day.

"I saw the Giants won," said Schilling, acquired Wednesday from Philadelphia in a trade he sought. "It's fun as hell to scoreboard watch. It's the first time in seven years that I've been in a pennant race. I don't know anything funner than coming to the park with that pressure every day."

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Game Summary

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  • Schilling (7-6) allowed one run and six hits in eight innings. He struck out five, walked two and hit 96 mph at least four times on the radar gun, manager Buck Showalter said.

    Schilling also doubled off the wall in the third inning.

    "That will be the highlight no one believes in Philadelphia," he said.

    The veteran right-hander started slowly this season following shoulder surgery, but since June 16 he's 6-2 with a 1.90 ERA.

    "I think he's glad this night is over with," Showalter said. "It's a very challenging night for him going out there when perfection is expected and people are ready to jump on the bandwagon if you fail. That makes this doubly impressive for me."

    The Marlins beat Atlanta's Greg Maddux on Thursday, but they couldn't do much against Schilling. Their best chance came in the ifth when they scored and then loaded the bases, but Schilling struck out Wilson on three consecutive fastballs, the last one at 95 mph.

    "That was taking it to another level," Showalter said.

    "I felt it was one of the few times you could trick a fastball hitter with a fastball," Schilling said.

    Wilson reacted by pounding his bat into the ground in disgust. The Marlins' cleanup hitter has 129 strikeouts and remains on pace to break Bobby Bonds' major-league record of 189 set in 1970.

    With the score 3-1 and a man on in the eighth, Wilson drove a fly to deep right field, but Danny Bautista jumped and made the catch near the wall. Matt Mantei struck out the side in a 1-2-3 ninth for his seventh save in nine chances.

    Reid Cornelius (3-5) lost his third consecutive start despite allowing only one earned run in 6 2-3 innings. An error by former Arizona shortstop Andy Fox gave the Diamondbacks two unearned runs in the fifth as the Marlins lost for the sixth time in seven games.

    Luis Castillo drove in Florida's only run with a single, extending his hitting streak to 19 games and earning his seventh RBI in 323 at-bats.

    Bautista singled and scored on Matt Williams' two-out double to give Arizona a 1-0 lead in the first.

    The Diamondbacks made it 3-0 in the fifth. Erubiel Durazo singled and Damian Miller walked, and both advanced on Schilling's sacrifice. With two out, Fox failed to make a backhanded grab on a high-hopper by Tony Womack, and two runs scored.

    "I've got to make that play, no excuse," Fox said. "It turned out to be the big play in the game."

    Fox was starting for Alex Gonzalez, who went on the disabled list Friday with a strained knee.

    Schilling had completed three of his past four starts. But Rob Ryan pinch-hit for him in the ninth and doubled home Arizona's final run.

    "After the fifth inning, I was pretty well spent," Schilling said. "It was hard to catch my breath tonight. I was pretty worked up for this one.

    "It's been surreal. I pack up nine years in my bag and walk out of Philly and leave a lot of friends. But the thing that keeps me giddis that I'm on a first-place team."

    Notes

  • Marlins OF Cliff Floyd aggravated his strained left knee running out a double in the fourth. He left the game in the eighth, and an MRI was planned.
  • The meeting was the first this season between the former expansion teams. Arizona leads the series 15-3.
  • Schilling has 128 strikeouts in 110 2-3 innings against Florida.

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