ATLANTA -- The Philadelphia Phillies' Curt Schilling, who gave up two runs in eight innings in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, says he didn't do anything fancy to hold the dangerous Atlanta Braves lineup in check.
"The Braves' offense feeds off each other. They begin to get runners on base, and they start to hit the first pitch," said Schilling, who didn't get a decision in that game, a 4-3, 10-inning victory. "The key is to stop them from having the big inning. They get their confidence going, and each batter can't wait to get to the plate and do some damage."
Schilling (16-7 in the regular season) was a surprise starter in the first game. With the series tied at 2-2, he is pitching this afternoon in Game 5 with a chance to put the Phillies ahead going into the final two games, both in Philadelphia.
"The bottom line is I could be pitching with our season on the line," Schilling said before last night's game. "Whether it's 3-1 or 2-2, it's going to be an important game. Someone's going to go to Philadelphia with three games."
Schilling pitched for the Orioles and their minor-league teams from 1988 to 1990 before being traded as part of a package to the Houston Astros for Glenn Davis.
He was groomed to be a closer in Houston, then was traded to the Phillies just before Opening Day in 1992. He quickly became a starter and is 30-18 the past two seasons.
"When I was traded to Philadelphia, I was able to get my feet under me," Schilling said. "I prepared myself to get that [starting] job, and when it opened I took advantage."
Nixon's final days?
If these are the last days center fielder Otis Nixon will spend in an Atlanta uniform, then he surely has made them memorable.
Nixon, 34, who will be a free agent at the end of the World Series, has seven hits in 16 at-bats in the series. He also has four RBI, tied with Mark Lemke for second on the team to Terry Pendleton's five.
Nixon platooned with Deion Sanders most of the season, but when Sanders went down with an upper respiratory ailment in August, Nixon took over the everyday job. From Aug. 18 to the close of the regular season, he hit .331.
"I don't think we could have won the division without him," said general manager John Schuerholz.
Yet, with Sanders signed this season to a three-year contract extension worth $11 million, there is wide speculation that the Braves, in an attempt to reduce their payroll, will let Nixon leave.
Schuerholz said discussions with Nixon had not begun and wouldn't until after Atlanta's season was completed.
Last night's scheduled start time of 8:29 p.m., already the latest start of any game in the series, was pushed back 12 additional minutes when Game 5 of the American League Championship Series ran late.
Phillies starter Danny Jackson became the first pitcher to appear in the playoffs with four different teams. Jackson pitched for the Kansas City Royals in 1985, Cincinnati Reds in 1990 and Pittsburgh Pirates last year.
Philadelphia second baseman Mariano Duncan, who on Saturday set an NL playoffs record with two triples in one game, was not in the starting lineup for Game 4 because of a strained rib cage.
"He could play, but it will hurt," Phillies team physician Dr. Phillip Marone said.