PITTSBURGH - Having one win through five weeks of the season did not sit well with Curt Schilling.
With co-ace Randy Johnson on the disabled list and the Diamondbacks 10 games out in the standings, they needed Schilling to return to form just as much as he did.
Schilling responded Friday with a four-hit shutout as the D-Backs defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-0, at PNC Park.
“The way things are going around here,” Schilling said, “with the injuries and the guys that we're losing, I know what the guys are looking for, and I expect to deliver.”
The first nine Pirates went down in order and they managed just one runner past first base.
“That's the Curt we like to see,” D-Backs manager Bob Brenly said. “When you can command a 98-mph fastball, move it up, down, in, out, at will, that's what's going to happen to any ballclub he pitches against.”
Schilling (2-4) threw just 27 balls in his 105 pitches. He tied St. Louis’ Matt Morris for the NL lead with his second complete game and lowered his ERA from 5.01 to 3.92.
In his previous start — his first after missing two weeks because of an appendectomy — Schilling allowed five runs in five innings. He chalked that up to the umpiring of C.B. Bucknor in order to keep a positive frame of mind.
Yet Schilling could not escape his 1-4 record.
“Mentally I've been struggling a little bit,” he said. “It's May and I (had) one win.
“I know my position on this team, I know what I'm expected to do. When I don't do that, it's frustrating.”
He took it out on Pittsburgh, which has lost seven straight games and its past six at home, tying Detroit for the worst home losing streak this season.
Schilling did not walk a batter and struck out 10, including ex-teammate Reggie Sanders four times.
In his past 16 starts against the Pirates, Schilling is 13-3. The shutout was his first since April 7, 2002, and the 18th of his career — sixth most among active pitchers.
“In years past it was nice to know he was going out there, and it was almost a guaranteed (win),” said catcher Rod Barajas, who drove in two runs and extended his hitting streak to nine games. “We knew he would pitch a great game and all we needed to score was two or three runs. To have him back in that form . . . takes the pressure off the hitters.
Over the first five innings, the Diamondbacks left eight men on base and scored just one run. They finally got to Jeff D'Amico (2-4) in the sixth.
Danny Bautista led off with a double and scored on a single by Barajas, who has nine RBIs in his past eight games.
Three batters later, Junior Spivey clubbed a three-run homer to make the score 5-0 and knock D'Amico (2-4) from the game.