Facing more than three batters in just one inning, the lefty pitched Boston's second complete game shutout of the season -- Schilling threw the other -- and beat the Kansas City Royals 4-0 Monday night.
Gabbard (3-0) breezed through the two-hour, 18-minute game and got the last two batters, Mark Grudzielanek and Mark Teahen, to swing at third strikes. He then used his left hand one more time, making a fist and pumping it in the air as the crowd stood and applauded.
"Your adrenaline takes over, but you have to kind of settle yourself down," Gabbard said.
He struck out a career-high eight batters, walked one and hit two with pitches in his first complete game since high school. He was helped by solo homers by Dustin Pedroia and Manny Ramirez in the fourth inning and a two-run shot by David Ortiz in the sixth.
The 25-year-old Gabbard was drafted by Boston in the 29th round in 2000 but was held back by injuries.
"The kid has had a lot of roadblocks coming through the minor leagues," manager Terry Francona said. "He has very good stuff."
Another injury, to Schilling, gave him his latest opportunity.
Fifteen days after losing a no-hit bid on Shannon Stewart's two-out single in the ninth -- but finishing the 1-0 win at Oakland -- Schilling went on the disabled list June 22 because of shoulder tendinitis. Gabbard was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to pitch June 26, the first of four starts in which he has allowed a total of nine runs.
Schilling said he felt fine after throwing 31 pitches in a simulated game before Monday's victory. He could replace Gabbard in the rotation after making two rehabilitation appearances.
"I'm going to do what they tell me to," Gabbard said. "I'm not worried about it."
Gabbard ran into trouble only in the fifth inning when the Royals loaded the bases when Emil Brown singled, Esteban German walked and John Buck was hit by a pitch. But Tony Pena grounded to second baseman Pedroia, who just nipped him with a strong throw.
"A game changing play," Francona said.
"I was playing up the middle and got a good jump on it," said Pedroia, who had to throw over second base umpire Larry Vanover, who crouched to get out of the way.
Gabbard began with 4 1/3 hitless innings, the second consecutive game he's done that at Fenway Park.
"Pretty good," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "We've never seen him before."
The soft-spoken rookie finished the game with his first strikeouts since the fifth inning.
"He looked very excited to work a complete game," Boston catcher Jason Varitek said. "That's what pitchers go out there to do."
Fellow rookie Brian Bannister (5-6) worked six innings against his former teammate in the Arizona Fall League in 2004.
"I gave him a courtesy wave warming up," Bannister said.
He didn't make many mistakes either and had good control.
"I can count on one hand every single bad pitch I made," Bannister said, "and they got every one of them."
Brown had two hits, a ground ball single to right field in the fifth and an infield single to third base in the seventh. Reggie Sanders singled in the eighth. After those last two hits, Gabbard got batters to ground the ball back to him, starting double plays.
Gabbard was optioned back to Pawtucket after pitching against Atlanta May 20 but was recalled to replace Schilling.
Pedroia hit his fourth homer of the season with one out in the fourth on a full count. After Ortiz grounded out, Ramirez hit his 13th to deep left center.
Pedroia then singled with one out in the sixth and Ortiz, down 0-2 in the count, worked it to 3-2 then lined a homer that cleared the low right field wall.
- Ramirez and Ortiz homered in the same game for the fourth time this season and the 46th in their careers.
- Buck and David DeJesus were hit by pitches, increasing to 57 the Royals' major league high total. The record of 100 was set by Houston in 1997.
- Gabbard's shutout was the first by a Boston rookie since Devern Hansack threw a five-inning shutout in the last game of last season. It was the first regulation shutout at Fenway by a Red Sox rookie since Roger Clemens on July 26, 1984, and by a Red Sox rookie lefty since Roger Moret on Sept. 24, 1971.