ATLANTA, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Curt Schilling turned in his third complete-game performance of the playoffs Friday night, surrendering four hits and striking out 12 to push the Arizona Diamondbacks in front in the National League Championship Series with a 5-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
"In the postseason, you want to think about nine innings," Schilling said. "I don't know how many pitches I threw, but I felt just as good in the ninth inning as I did in the first."
Schilling threw 127 pitches, 83 of them for strikes, and fanned five of the last seven batters he faced.
Arizona, hoping to reach the World Series for the first time in franchise history, opened a 2-1 lead in the series. Greg Maddux will try to even things again Saturday when he throws for the Braves against Arizona's Albie Lopez in Game 4.
John Burkett, making his first start in a league championship series, struggled throughout his 4 2/3-inning stint and was done in by a pair of defensive lapses.
The Braves could afford no such lapses as Schilling did not allow a hit until the fourth and had Atlanta batters swinging at air all night.
Arizona put two runners on in the first inning and one on in the second, but Burkett was unable to wiggle off the hook in the third.
After Tony Womack struck out to start the third, Craig Counsell reached on an infield single and moved to second on Luis Gonzalez's ground out. Matt Williams walked, after which Steve Finley ripped a double to left -- scoring both runners. Finley was out trying to reach third, ending the inning.
Atlanta got a run back in the fourth when Marcus Giles doubled to lead off and scored on a one out single by Chipper Jones.
But an error by Jones in the fifth inning figured prominently in a three-run outburst that gave Schilling and the Diamondbacks more than enough cushion.
Schilling helped his own cause with a single to right that started the fifth and he went to second when Womack's sacrifice bunt turned into a base hit because no one covered first base. Both runners were moved along with a sacrifice from Counsell and Gonzalez was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Steve Reed came in to replace Burkett and Williams hit a sharp grounder on which Jones made a fine play to stop. But his throw home sailed past catcher Javy Lopez, allowing two runs to score. Gonzalez went to third on the play, from where he scored on a single by Finley off the third pitcher of the inning, Mike Remlinger.
The five runs equaled the most Arizona has scored in the playoffs this year and marked only the second time in eight outings they have produced more than two.
Schilling's previous postseason appearances this year resulted in a three-hit shutout against St. Louis in the opening game of their division series and a six-hitter in a 2-1, Game 5 victory. The only run he allowed in that contest came on an eighth-inning homer by J.D. Drew.
In his only other start against the Braves this year, Schilling threw seven scoreless innings in a 7-0 victory on Aug. 10.