PHOENIX (AP) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks played the first of their pair of aces and came away a shutout winner.
Curt Schilling picked up where he left off in his last postseason appearance eight years ago, pitching a three-hit, 1-0 masterpiece against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night in Game 1 of their NL playoff series.
It was the most impressive performance thus far in what has been Schilling's greatest season.
"Given the circumstances and everything that was riding on this ballgame, that was about as good as I've seen him," Arizona manager Bob Brenly said.
The Diamondbacks planned to send Randy Johnson to the mound Wednesday in Game 2.
"I feel bad for the Cardinals," Luis Gonzalez said.
Schilling won a dramatic duel with Matt Morris, a matchup of baseball's only 22-game winners this season.
Eight years apart, Schilling has thrown consecutive postseason shutouts. He pitched a five-hitter for Philadelphia in the 1993 World Series, and nights like this are why Arizona acquired him from the Phillies in July last year.
"The no-hitter through eight innings in San Diego was good, but I think tonight was even better," catcher Damian Miller said. "For him to come out in this atmosphere in the first game of the playoffs and just completely dominate a team, that's what separates tonight from that game in San Diego."
He completed his victory by retiring one of the toughest trios any pitcher can face -- J.D. Drew, Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds -- in the ninth inning. Schilling gave up 37 homers this season, tied for most in the NL.
"I knew I had three guys up that could tie the ballgame, and unfortunately I've learned some lessons giving up home runs late in a ballgame," Schilling said. "My concentration was on location, and mentally, Damian and I were together. It was just a good flow late in the game."
Steve Finley was 3-for-4, including a two-out, RBI single in the fifth inning after Arizona squandered scoring threats in the first and fourth.
"Usually when a team misses their chances, it comes back to haunt you," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said, "but Schilling was just masterful. He is just a real pitcher. He did everything he had to do with the baseball."
Schilling's 5-6 record for the Diamondbacks down the stretch last year is a distant memory.
Schilling, overcoming a sore hip that started stiffening in the early innings, improved to 2-1 in the postseason in five starts with a 2.45 ERA.
He baffled batters with a fastball that hit 97 mph, a split-finger fastball, backdoor slider and a few slow curves. He struck out nine and walked one.
"From the beginning of the game, watching Curt from center field, I had a real good feeling we were going to win," Finley said. "I had a good feeling that if we put at least a run on the board, with his stuff it could have a chance to be lights out."
Edgar Renteria got two of the hits, a leadoff single in the third and a one-out double in the fourth. Jim Edmonds doubled with one out in the seventh for the other St. Louis hit.
Morris allowed one run and six hits, three of them doubles, before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the eighth. He struck out six, walked two and, in what turned out to be a crucial play, hit one batter.
"I don't know how many pitches I threw -- 120 or something," Morris said. "One or two of them decided the ballgame. You know Curt's going to go out there and put up zeros. All I can do is go out there and try to keep stride with him."
Morris grazed Miller, the leadoff batter, with a pitch in the fifth inning, then Schilling put down a sacrifice bunt with two strikes to move Miller to second.
"It nipped off his leg, and they end up moving him over, and a single scores him with two out," Morris said. "Two-out hits decide these ballgames. I almost wish I'd hit him in the back, if he's going to take first. But who knew that run was going to decide the game?"
After Womack flied to left for the second out, Finley lined a shot up the middle to drive in Miller from second.
Gonzalez nearly added to the damage with a fly to deep right- center, but Edmonds made a leaping grab at the top of the fence in front of the swimming pool to end the inning.
The Diamondbacks stranded four runners in the first four innings, three of in scoring position with less than two outs. In all, they left 11 runners on base.
Notes: It was Arizona's first victory this season over St. Louis at Bank One Ballpark. The Cardinals swept three in Phoenix in early April. ... La Russa went with 12 pitchers on his 25-man roster because he wanted another lefty available for an Arizona team loaded with left-handed batters. ... The teams had not played since April 18. ... McGwire was 0-for-3 and struck out twice, but made a nice stop on Gonzalez's grounder and crawled to first for the out. In his career against Schilling, McGwire is 4-for-21, with all four hits home runs.
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