Curt Schilling has never been more dominant than he was Sunday.
He struck out a career-high 17 and threw his second career one-hitter in overpowering Milwaukee and leading the Arizona Diamondbacks past the Brewers, 2-0.
“I don’t know if he can pitch any better,” Brewer Manager Davey Lopes said. “And if he can I don’t want to see it.”
But Eric Young swears he’s seen Schilling sharper than this.
“It was on TV,” Young said. “In the World Series.”
Schilling had three stellar starts in the World Series, in which he was named co-MVP with fellow ace Randy Johnson.
Schilling was so motivated by his postseason performance that he vowed to approach the new season with similar ferocity. And it has produced 16 shutout innings, and only seven hits and two walks to go with 26 strikeouts.
“My goal going into spring training this year was to be where I was in October last year,” Schilling said. “I feel that in my first two starts I’ve done that.”
Schilling (2-0) gave up only Raul Casanova’s clean single to right field in the second inning. He did not permit a runner to reach second base.
The shutout was the Diamondbacks’ third of the season in six games.
Schilling was so dominating that Brewer fans took to cheering foul balls in the latter innings.
Schilling struck out seven of the first 10 batters he faced and fanned the side in the third and fifth innings. He outdueled Ben Sheets (1-1), who gave up one run and five hits in seven innings.
Schilling, who opened the season with seven shutout innings against San Diego, fanned Young for the second out in the ninth, breaking his previous career best of 16 strikeouts set Sept. 1, 1997, against the New York Yankees.
He fanned Geoff Jenkins, Tyler Houston and Jose Hernandez three times each.