PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Phillies would have had a hard time showing their unshaven faces around town if they had lost three straight World Series games at Veterans Stadium. Their gritty image would have cracked bigger than the Liberty Bell.
Instead, the Phillies showed their perseverance again, shaking off a devastating defeat in Game 4 to scratch out a 2-0 victory last night and send the 90th fall classic back across the border.
The Toronto Blue Jays could have wrapped up their second straight world championship with just a modest performance at the plate, but they could not figure out former Orioles pitcher Curt Schilling, who pitched a five-hit shutout to keep the Phillies from getting swept right out of their own stadium.
So the show will go on. The World Series moves to Canada for Game 6 tomorrow night with the Blue Jays needing to win just one of two games at SkyDome to keep the World Series trophy in Toronto.
It still looks bleak for the tobacco-spitting boys from Broad Street, but Schilling's 146-pitch performance kept them very much alive. He gave up just two hits through the first five innings and stayed around until the end on a night when the Phillies did not have enough bullpen depth to bail him out.
Both clubs had used up most of their extra pitching in Wednesday's offensive carnival, so the Phillies' faint hopes rested almost entirely on the shoulders of Schilling, who had taken his lumps in Game 1.
This time, he took the Blue Jays down a notch with the strongest performance of an impressive postseason. It was the third time he has pitched well in four postseason starts, but it was his first postseason victory. It also was the first time a Phillies pitcher has ever pitched a complete-game shutout in a playoff or World Series game.
"I knew that this team was going to end the season or go to Toronto based on what I did," said Schilling. "It worked out for the best."
His pitch count was inordinately high, but manager Jim Fregosi wasn't about to hand the game over to a bullpen that had been beaten senseless during the four hours of batting practice that passed as Game 4. Schilling was on his own, even when the Blue Jays put runners at first and third with no one out in the eighth.
"I talked to [pitching coach] Johnny Podres after the seventh inning and asked him how many pitches Curt had thrown," Fregosi said. "I told him to let me know when he got to 150 or 160. It was going to be his game to win or lose."
Just another night for Orioles fans to watch from afar and wonder what might have been if their club had not traded Schilling along with two other top prospects for Glenn Davis, but that was the farthest thing from his mind when he was handing the Blue Jays only their second shutout of the 1993 season.
The only other time they were shut out this season was June 30, when the Orioles' Fernando Valenzuela threw a six-hitter to score a 6-0 victory at Camden Yards.
No doubt, the Phillies were a little deflated after Game 4 turned into a fiasco, but they regained their composure and recaptured the macho mentality that has carried them through a surprising season.
"It was just like against the Braves," said first baseman John Kruk, who drove home the decisive run with an RBI ground out in the first inning. "We got blown out twice and came back to win three in a row. Hopefully we can do it again."
Kruk did not seem particularly concerned that his team still faced a pair of sudden-death situations. "I didn't realize it was sudden death," he joked, "but I guess if you're going to die, it might as well be sudden."
If the sellout crowd of 62,706 came to Veterans Stadium hoping to see anything like the wet and wild 15-14 slugfest in Game 4, Schilling and Blue Jays starter Juan Guzman were quick to alter the expectation.
Schilling did not give up a hit until the third inning and only had to pitch out of trouble a couple of times. He had given up seven bTC runs in 6 1/3 innings in his Game 1 start at SkyDome, but last night looked much more like the pitcher who threw two solid games to win the MVP trophy in the National League Championship Series.
"I thought he over-analyzed the first game of the Series," Fregosi said. "Tonight he went out and threw the ball and had good stuff."
That performance, combined with a strong all-around defensive effort by the Phillies, kept the Blue Jays from getting anything going in the early innings. Kruk turned a flashy double play on a sacrifice bunt attempt in the third inning and the Phillies doubled up Roberto Alomar trying to steal second on a strikeout in the fourth.
Guzman had it much tougher at the outset. He gave up a run in each of the first two innings and continued to pitch in trouble throughout the evening.
Leadoff man Len Dykstra, who has been the Phillies' most dynamic offensive force in the Series, manufactured the only run that really mattered. He led off the first with a walk, stole second and went to third on a throwing error by catcher Pat Borders before coming home on a ground out by Kruk.
Dykstra was coming off one of the biggest individual performances of Game 4. He homered twice and scored four runs to tie a World Series record. He entered last night's game with a career average of one home run for every nine at-bats in World Series play, better than that of Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson (one for every 9.8), who was known as Mr. October for his postseason heroics.
The Phillies actually put wood on the ball to score their second run of the game. Darren Daulton -- another big producer in Game 4 -- opened the second inning with a double to left and scored when shortstop Kevin Stocker pulled a ground-ball double down the right-field line.
Guzman continued to flirt with disaster. He gave up back-to-back two-out hits in the third, but got Daulton to pop out to end the inning. He handed out back-to-back one-out walks in the fourth, but got out of a bases-loaded situation by striking out Mariano Duncan.
There was room to wonder how the Phillies would bounce back from the emotionally draining experience of blowing a five-run lead on Wednesday night, but Schilling was surprised that it was even an issue.
"First things first," he said. "We're 10 games into a season we're not supposed to be in. We're not supposed to be here. That's the attitude that we have. We're in the World Series. This is fun."
Fregosi was asked during the pre-game press briefing about the mood of the team going into last night's game. He didn't hesitate.
"We're looking for only one thing," he said, "an all-expense-paid trip to another country."
Phillies-Blue Jays scoring
Phillies first: Dykstra walked. Dykstra stole second and advanced to third on catcher Borders' throwing error. Duncan flied to right fielder Carter. Kruk grounded to second baseman Alomar, Dykstra scored. Hollins struck out. 1 run, 0 hits, 1 error, 0 left on. Phillies 1, Blue Jays 0.
Phillies second: Daulton doubled to left-center. Eisenreich grounded to first baseman Olerud, Daulton to third. Thompson popped to left fielder Henderson. Stocker doubled down the right-field line, Daulton scored. Schilling struck out. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 left on. Phillies 2, Blue Jays 0.
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES vs. TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Blue Jays lead, 3-2
Gm. ... ... ... ... Result
1. ... ... .. .. .. Blue Jays 8, Phillies 5
2. ... ... .. .. .. Phillies 6, Blue Jays 4
3. ... ... .. .. .. Blue Jays 10, Phillies 3
4. ... ... .. .. .. Blue Jays 15, Phillies 14
5. ... ... .. .. .. Phillies 2, Blue Jays 0
Gm. ... Date ... ... ... Site ... Time
6. .. .. Tomorrow .. ... Toronto ... 8:12
7.* ... Sunday ... .. .. Toronto ... 8:29
10 TV: All games on channels 11, 9