The Arizona Diamondbacks went on the road on Friday with a 3 1/2 game lead in the National League West after a brief three game homestand that saw them take two of three from the Giants. The last series of their road trip ended with a 2-2 split with the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Phillies defeated the Diamondbacks 6-5 in the series opener on Aug. 24. Brian Anderson pitched himself out of the Arizona rotation by giving up six runs in four innings for the second straight start. The Phillies had a 6-1 lead when Anderson left and saw the Diamondbacks cut the margin to one on Reggie Sanders’ second homer of the game and a solo shot by Luis Gonzalez. The loss was Arizona’s third in four games.
The Diamondbacks evened the series with Philadelphia with a 4-3 win on Aug. 25. Miguel Batista pitched brilliantly for six innings and was the winner. B. K. Kim worked out of eighth and ninth inning trouble to earn the save. Matt Williams clubbed an eighth inning homer that looked like insurance at the time, giving Arizona a 4-1 lead. The biggest play of the game came when Greg Colbrunn got an infield hit on a bases loaded slow roller to short. Steve Finley was ruled safe at the plate and Arizona took a 2-1 lead that increased to 3-1 a batter later.
B. K. Kim was the winning pitcher in a 4-3, 10 inning Diamondback victory over the Phillies on Aug. 26. Reggie Sanders clubbed the game-winning homer for Arizona. Gonzalez also homered. The Diamondbacks continued to struggle with manufacturing runs.
The Phillies used a brilliant pitching performance by Robert Person to defeat the Diamondbacks 3-1 in the series finale. Albie Lopez pitched well enough to win for Arizona, but the Diamondbacks managed only a solo homer by Reggie Sanders. Failure to take advantage of scoring opportunities continued to be a problem for the D-Backs. Arizona was 3-4 for the road trip and 2-2 in Philadelphia. The Diamondbacks came home to meet San Francisco with a 2 1/2 game lead over the Giants and a 3 1/2 game advantage over the Dodgers.
The D-Backs got back on the winning track with a 4-1 win over the Giants in the series opener. The usual cast of heroes delivered for Arizona. Randy Johnson pitched eight strong innings to win his 18th game of the season against only six losses. Reggie Sanders and Luis Gonzalez each hit two run homers to account for the scoring. B. K. Kim pitched the ninth inning to pick up a save.
On Wednesday, the Diamondbacks stretched their lead to 4 1/2 games with a 2-0 win over the Giants. Bobby Witt, Greg Swindell, Bret Prinz and Kim combined to shut down the San Francisco offense. Witt collected the victory and Kim the save. Gonzalez blasted his 50th homer. Matt Williams singled home the other D-Back run.
On Thursday, the Giants hammered the D-Backs 13-5 to salvage their only win of the series and cut the lead to 3 1/2 games.
After the Giants left town, the D-Backs took to the road for games in San Diego and San Francisco. The series with the Padres began with a double-header on Aug. 31. A pair of single games was to be followed by Arizona’s final appearance in San Francisco during the regular season. The team will return to Bank-One-Ballpark for three games with the Padres beginning on Friday. Monday is an off day then the Colorado Rockies will be in town on Tuesday to start a three game series.
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