PHILADELPHIA — The question made Jim Fregosi throw his head back and laugh, and the answer was even better.
"Will you use Curt Schilling in Game 5 until his arm falls off?" somebody asked the Philadelphia manager.
When he finished laughing, Fregosi answered: "Most likely." Then a pause. "Maybe more."
Every game Schilling pitches seems to involve added incentive, and he didn't need any extra Thursday night. With his team trailing the Toronto Blue Jays, three games to one, in the World Series, and with a bullpen whose arms had gone limp, he was in a must-win situation.
Before the game, Schilling went into the coaching room and told pitching coach Johnny Podres that he was dedicating the game to him.
"I told Pods I owed it to him for all the things he's done and, when I think about his Game 7 start when he shut out the Yankees, it was the least I could do for the guy for all he has done and for what he has done for me," Schilling said.
Podres pitched the Brooklyn Dodgers to a 2-0 complete-game victory that day in 1955, leading the Dodgers to their first World Series championship in franchise history.
At Veterans Stadium Thursday, Schilling hurled a five-hit, 2-0 complete-game victory, keeping his team in contention by sending the Phillies back to Toronto, where the Series resumes on Saturday.
"Dutch (Darren Daulton) came up to me before the game and said 'If we win we go to Toronto, and if we lose, we go home, so there is no pressure,' " Schilling said. "I was trying to figure out if he was kidding or if he was serious."
The Phillies have to win both games in Toronto, but first they have to get past Dave Stewart on Saturday, prompting someone to ask John Kruk how he felt about being in a sudden-death situation.
"I guess if we are going to die, it may as well be sudden," Kruk said.
After a devastating 15-14 loss the night before, when the Phillies blew a five-run lead in the eighth inning, the clubhouse was unusually quiet before the game Thursday. Kruk said he was surprised everybody showed up. Daulton said he didn't sleep all night and didn't get over the shock until he got to the clubhouse. Then, he concentrated on keeping Schilling calm.
"I didn't hold a formal meeting, but I talked with the other guys about keeping the pressure off of Curt," Daulton said. "I didn't want Curt to feel like the weight of the world was on his shoulders, even though it was."
Daulton continued to talk with Schilling throughout the game, but Schilling didn't need much encouragement until the seventh inning, when he started to get tired.
"Darren came out and told me we may have to use mirrors to get the rest of the outs," said Schilling, who held the Blue Jays to three hits through seven innings.
But no inning epitomized the determination of Schilling more than the eighth, when he had the tying runs on first and third and none out.
"I side-glanced over to the bullpen, and nobody was up, and that got me more pumped up," Schilling said. "I knew this team would go to Toronto based on what I did."
Pat Borders and Rob Butler, pinch-hitting for Juan Guzman, led off the eighth inning with consecutive hits, putting Willie Canate, running for Borders, on third. Daulton came to the mound and told Schilling they could give up the run for an out, but Schilling wanted a strikeout. He battled Rickey Henderson to a 2-2 count before Henderson hit a slider hard back to Schilling.
"I knocked it down and saw (Canate) midway between third and home and I think I rushed the throw to Dutch, but we got him in the rundown," Schilling said.
But the tying runs were still on first and second with one out, and the crowd of 62,706 was on its feet. Schilling threw a pitch he hadn't thrown, a back-door slider that sent Devon White down swinging. Roberto Alomar was left.
But Alomar grounded out, ending the inning and stopping the Blue Jays' only threat. Schilling retired the side in order in the ninth, to throw the first shutout since Jack Morris in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.
"In the seventh inning, I asked Johnny (Podres) what Schilling's pitch count was, and he told me," Fregosi said. "I said, 'Let me know when he gets to 150 or 160.' "
Neither Schilling nor Guzman pitched well in Game 1 of the Series, and Guzman was in trouble from the start Thursday. His leadoff walk to Lenny Dykstra cost him in the first inning when Dykstra stole second and moved to third on a throwing error by Borders, then scored on a groundout by Kruk.
Doubles by Daulton and Kevin Stocker in the second inning put the Phillies ahead, 2-0, before Guzman eventually settled down.
Schilling, though, pitched well throughout, holding the Blue Jays to two hits through five innings. The Blue Jays didn't have a baserunner reach second until the sixth inning. And when Alomar tried to steal second in the fourth when Joe Carter struck out swinging, Daulton made a perfect throw to nail him for the double play.
Schilling was most valuable player of the playoffs, striking out 19 batters in two games and compiling a 1.69 earned-run average. But Daulton said this was the best game Schilling has thrown.
"Even though (Curt) is young, he has matured quite a bit this year," Daulton said. "He was bounced around clubs a lot and was on his way out maybe until he came here and hooked up with Johnny Podres, and now he's a role model.
"When we used to face him with other clubs, we used to think he might as well as wear a dress out there. We knew if we put some pressure on him, he would fold."
That couldn't be the same Schilling.
* LENNY DYKSTRA
After a big night in Game 4, center fielder goes hitless but scores the first run and sets the tone for the Phillies. C6
* CURT SCHILLING
The winning pitcher in Game 5 doesn't fit the image of his rough-and-tumble Phillie teammates. C7