RED SOX 6, CARDINALS 2
The blood, a bright crimson on pure white, seeped into the sanitary sock around Schilling's right ankle, like a stigmata for the fanatical church of Boston baseball. Schilling's wounds were real--his ankle was so badly mangled that he would have been undergoing surgery and a three-month rehabilitation if not for the little matter of pitching Game 2 of the World Series--as real as the wounds of New England baseball fans over the past 86 unfulfilled years. He felt their pain and they his. In Schilling they found the ultimate red sock.
Only by way of modern medicine, prayer and over someone's dead body (and no, not the Bambino's) did Schilling make it to the mound, and even then he did so after he told his wife, Shonda, that morning he was in too much pain to pitch and after Wallace that afternoon put Derek Lowe on standby to start in Schilling's place. Schilling not only made his start, he also made history, placing himself among a hamstrung Kirk Gibson in 1988, an overworked Sandy Koufax in 1965 and a hung-over Grover Cleveland Alexander in 1926 as the most gallant physical triumphs in World Series lore.
As the 100th Series sank deeper into a jumble of fielding and baserunning gaffes, Schilling raised it with six gritty innings in which he allowed one unearned run. He became the first pitcher to win World Series games for three teams, having won before for Philadelphia (1993) and Arizona (2001). More symbolically, he became only the second Boston starting pitcher to give the Red Sox a two-games-to-none lead at home in the World Series. The other: Babe Ruth, in 1916. Of curse.
"It's at the top of the list among all the games I've pitched," Schilling said. "Just because of all that happened tonight, who it was against and what it meant."
As in his 4-2 victory over the New York Yankees in Game 6 of the ALCS, Schilling gutted out a solid performance on a right ankle held together by sutures and painkillers. Boston's team doctor, Bill Morgan, used the sutures to keep a tendon in Schilling's ankle from popping around his ankle bone. Morgan had tried the procedure on a cadaver before sewing up Schilling the day before his second ALCS start.
Morgan added an extra suture, a fourth, before Schilling's World Series start. One of them hit a nerve in the ankle, causing the pitcher to awaken at seven the morning of Game 2 with such a severe ache in his right leg that he was sure he would be unable to start.
Soon after Schilling arrived at Fenway, however, Morgan removed the offending suture, and the pain was alleviated. Schilling allowed the Cardinals only four hits--just one in 11 at bats with runners on--despite straining his right hip in the second inning.
He was helped greatly in that inning when Reggie Sanders failed to touch second base on his way to third on what should have been a double by Tony Womack. The next batter, Mike Matheny, killed the wounded rally with a line drive double play. Schilling walked stiffly off the mound with a 6--1 lead after the sixth, his last inning.
"It's just the most amazing day of my life," Schilling said half an hour after the game.