The Arizona Diamondbacks left Florida in deep trouble. In third place and slipping, the team was still looking for a starter to win other than Randy Johnson or Curt Schilling. The D-Backs had lost two of three to the Marlins with Johnson getting the only win. The offense was the main culprit, scoring only one run in the final two games of that series.
Atlanta was a different story as the D’Backs swept the Braves and moved back into first place in the National League West. It was he first time the Braves had been swept at home since in over two years and the first time it had been done by a National League team in over four years.
At Atlanta on Aug. 10, Curt Schilling rode to the rescue once again to stop yet another losing streak with a 7-0 victory over the Braves. Schilling has been the pitcher of record 11 times following an Arizona loss. He has won 10 of those decisions and gave up only two runs in his lone loss in the “stopper” role. The win improved his record to 17-5.
The Diamondbacks moved back into first place on Aug. 11 with a 3-1 win over the Braves. Miguel Batista became the first Arizona starter other than Schilling or Johnson to win since July 25. The Braves did not score an earned run off Batista or four Diamondback relievers. Only one half game separated the Diamondbacks from the Dodgers and Giants who were tied in second place.
The Diamondbacks completed the sweep of the Braves with a 9-1 victory as Albie Lopez picked up his first win as a Diamondback. Junior Spivey led a suddenly potent Arizona offense with a five for five performance. Steve Finley and Matt Williams homered and Mark Grace had four runs batted in for Arizona.
Johnson went the distance for a 3-0 shutout victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first game of the brief, six-game homestand on Aug. 13. The “Big Unit” allowed only five hits and struck out 10 as Arizona won its fourth straight. Johnson improved his record to 16-5. Luis Gonzalez gave the big left-hander all the support he needed with a first inning homer. Matt Williams posted a pair of insurance runs with a two-run shot in the late innings.
It took 10 innings, but the Diamondbacks extended their winning streak to five with a 4-3 win over the Pirates on Aug. 14. Matt Williams singled home the winning run in the bottom of the extra frame. Gonzalez and Damien Miller had homered earlier for Arizona. Pittsburgh tied the game in the ninth. Miguel Batista was the winning pitcher in relief.
Schilling became the winningest pitcher in the major leagues with a 5-2 victory over the Pirates on Wednesday in the series finale. The big right-hander improved his record to 18-5, the most wins he has ever recorded in the majors. Matt Williams and Junior Spivey homered for the Diamondbacks.
Arizona entered the three-game series with the NL East leading Chicago Cubs holding a narrow one game lead over the San Francisco Giants with the Los Angeles Dodgers only two games back. The Diamondbacks had Thursday off before beginning the series with the Cubs.
Monday was another off day, then the D-Backs flew to Pennsylvania for a three game set at Pittsburgh with the Pirates and a four game set with the Phillies in Philadelphia.
The Giants will be at Bank-One-Ballpark for the final time on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The Diamondbacks will complete the August portion of their schedule and begin September in San Diego.
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