This year marks the 20th anniversary of the 1993 Philadelphia Phillies going from worst to first and winning the National League pennant. All season long we will take a look back at each game of the 1993 season.
Last Game: Phillies 5, Cubs 4
Looking to capture their second straight series victory to start the season, the Phillies sent Curt Schilling to the mound for a businessperson's special at Veterans Stadium. As he would do so many times in 1993, Schilling delivered with a standout performance, pitching a complete game four-hitter as the Phillies used some early offense to set the pace once again for a 3-0 victory.
The Phillies struck early, taking advantage of a fielding error by left fielder Candy Maldonado. After Lenny Dykstra and Mickey Morandini were retired a the top of the lineup, John Kruk worked the count against Cubs starter Jose Guzman and walked off a full count. That was followed by a Dave Hollins single to right field. The team's chief RBI producer, catcher Darren Daulton, hit a fly ball to left field but Maldonado dropped the ball. With Kruk and Hollins hustling at the crack of the bat the two were able to take advantage and come around to score on the error. The two unearned runs would give Schilling a 2-0 lead to work with, and that was more than enough on this wet April afternoon before the Veterans Stadium crowd of 21,955.
Schilling's only inning of pressure came in the top of the seventh inning. The Phillies starter fell behind Mark Grace and walked him on five pitches to lead off the inning. Grace advanced to second on a grounder to Kruk, the first base runner in scoring position on the afternoon for the Cubs. Schilling then lost control and hit Maldonado with a pitch to give the Cubs some positive energy but he stormed back to retire the side by striking out Sammy Sosa and Rick Wilkins.
Daulton would add one more run courtesy of a solo home run to deep right field, his fourth of the season, off of Cubs reliever Paul Assenmacher. Daulton had hit a home run off of Assenmacher the previous night as well, also in the bottom of the eighth inning. Schilling would be sent back to the mound in the ninth inning despite already being over 100 pitches. Grace and Derrick May once again created a mild threat with back-to-back singles off of the workhorse pitcher but once again Schilling battled back to strike out the final two batters, Maldonado and Sosa.
With the win the Phillies took a full one-game lead in the National League East over the St. Louis Cardinals. The defending division champion Pittsburgh Pirates were now 1.5 games back, and time would tell that this was just the beginning of a long stretch of futility for the western Pennsylvania rivals. At 5-1, the Phillies now owned the best record in baseball in the early going.
Next up for the Phillies would be a three-game home series against one of the top teams of the early 1990s, the Cincinnati Reds, three years removed from a World Series sweep and coming off a 90-win season in 1992. It would be a little bit of an early statement series for the Phillies.