- Jim Caple, Senior Writer, ESPN.com
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BOSTON -- So what will Curt Schilling do for an encore tonight? Take the mound without a flu shot?
Five days after baseball's most inspiring comeback that didn't involve an Iowa cornfield, Schilling returns to the mound for Game 2 tonight with the chance to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead in the World Series against the Cardinals. Schilling held the Yankees to one run in seven innings Tuesday, and now he faces the National League's best lineup while the Fenway Faithful cross their fingers that his ankle continues to hold up.
"Don't kid yourself; I'm terrified," Schilling said of his ability to rise to the occasion in big games. "That's part of the motivation, the fear of failure. ... When you come through and succeed in moments like this, no one can ever question what you're made of."
Schilling received the same medical procedure on his ankle Saturday that allowed him to pitch Game 6. He and his doctor are so accomplished with it now, he joked, "He allowed the painkiller to actually work this time."
Needing a quality start after the 11-9 loss in Game 1, St. Louis counters with the inconsistent Matt Morris (15-10, 4.72), who pitched five innings in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series four days ago. Asked when he had last pitched on three days' rest, Morris replied, "A whiffle ball game when I was 10."
Considering how poorly pitchers have generally pitched on three days' rest in the postseason, that's not greatly encouraging for St. Louis fans.
Given that neither team's Game 1 starter made it through the fourth inning, both could use a nice, long outing tonight. But these are not good teams to take the mound against with a tired arm or sutures in your ankle. They led their leagues in runs during the regular season and combined for 14 before the sixth inning was over Saturday. "You send danger up there every inning," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said, "so you never really feel you're out of the game."
Of course, it helps if you throw strikes -- the Cardinals walked eight batters and the Red Sox walked six, four in the fourth inning when Tim Wakefield couldn't get his knuckleball to dance into the strike zone.
The Red Sox also made four errors -- two by Manny Ramirez in one inning -- and blew a five-run lead and a two-run lead.
"Maybe the cold weather had something to do with it," said St. Louis right fielder Larry Walker, who had four hits, two doubles and a home run in his first World Series game. "It was freezing out there and the guys were standing around a long time because some of those innings went on forever. It's almost one in the morning and we didn't even have a rain delay."
"We didn't play that well," Boston's David Ortiz said. "We made four errors that could have given them six runs. I don't think you want to that too often, especially in the World Series."
Ortiz came up huge once again for the Red Sox, slamming a three-run homer in the first inning to give Boston a 3-0 lead and then singling home another run in the seventh. The production gives him 19 RBI this postseason, tying the record with six possible games left.
"You always expect a good at-bat from him," first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz said. "He doesn't swing at bad pitches. He's so strong and disciplined, and he knows the strike zone."
Even with Ortiz, however, the Red Sox needed a late home run from Mark Bellhorn, who smashed a two-run shot off the Pesky Pole in the bottom of the eighth inning. It marked the third time in the past week the Red Sox have won a game in their last at-bat and the fourth time in their past eight games.
Everyone suspected this series could be high-scoring and the two teams certainly proved it in Game 1, settting the record for most runs in an opener. Boston led 4-0 and 7-2 before St. Louis came back to tie it. Then Boston scored two more runs and the Cardinals came right back with two more to tie it again and set up Bellhorn's home run.
So is that the way this series is going to go, with both teams slugging it out each night? "I hope not," Ortiz said.
Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
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