CINCINNATI — Curt Schilling made sure someone else had the tough luck Tuesday.
Given meager support for the fifth straight outing, Schilling finally made it stand up to earn his first win in nearly five weeks with the Diamondbacks’ 2-0 defeat of the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.
With six wins in seven games, Arizona trails Florida by 1 1/2 games in the NL wild card race, with Philadelphia in second, a half-game out.
Schilling had gone 0-2 in his four starts before Tuesday, despite a 2.25 ERA over that stretch.
“On the plane coming here,” Steve Finley said, “he goes, ‘You know in the eighth inning it's going to be 2-1 or 3-2.’ I said, ’You just make sure you've given up the one or the two.’ He wasn't too far off.
“It’s the way we've been playing games here lately. A lot of close games, a lot of low-scoring games. At least we're starting to come out on top in these.”
The D-Backs have scored two or fewer runs in 15 of their last 22 games but have managed to go 4-11 in those offensive brownouts.
Pitching well recently was not good enough for Schilling, who is fourth in the NL with a 2.65 ERA; not seeing a “W” next to his name was gnawing at him.
“You know the answer to that question,” he said. “Winning the games you start is the No. 1 priority.
“We're struggling to score runs. That's a fact. No one's trying any less, no one's putting any less effort, guys are working hard. It is what it is.
“When you're in a situation like this with the offense, you've got to go out and throw shutouts to win every now and then. It's not fair or wrong, it's just the way it is. You have to take that into consideration and do your job.”
Twice Schilling (6-6) got into two-on, one-out jams — when the Reds had runners on first and second in the first inning and second and third in the sixth. Each time, Schilling struck out the next two batters to keep Cincinnati off the board.
“He's one of those guys who is able to turn it up a notch and make great pitches when he has to, to get out of the inning,” said Finley, whose homer accounted for Arizona's only run over the first eight innings.
“When he needed a little extra gas, he was able to reach back and put a little extra on that heater,” manager Bob Brenly said.
“You could just see ‘Schill’ concentrate a little harder, reach back a little bit more and his pitches were really crisp when he really needed them to be.”
Facing the most strikeout-prone team in the majors, Schilling threw 61 split-finger fastballs out of his 113 pitches, and the plan worked. Schilling matched his season high with 11 strikeouts, passing Jack Morris for 26th on the all-time list and getting within four of 25th-place Don Drysdale (2,486).
Cincinnati has lost six of seven and been shut out in three of its last four games.
The D-Backs had just four hits, but two drove in runs. Finley homered off Paul Wilson (6-10) in the fifth inning and Luis Gonzalez singled in an insurance run in the ninth.
Arizona has scored eight runs total in Schilling's past five starts — just five runs while he has been in the game. In nine of his 17 starts this season, the D-Backs have scored two runs or fewer.
Eddie Oropesa, Jose Valverde and Matt Mantei combined to pitch the final two innings, with Mantei converting his ninth consecutive save chance and extending his shutout streak to 14 innings.
The Diamondbacks have won 15 straight meetings with the Reds, Cincinnati's longest losing streak against an opponent since dropping 16 in a row to the Cubs in 1944-45.