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Diamondbacks comfortable in NL West

The Associated Press

Arizona’s lead in the NL West is starting to seem comfortable.

Wednesday, August 11, 1999

Arizona’s lead in the NL West is starting to seem comfortable. With 7 1/2 weeks left in the season, the second-year Diamondbacks opened a 6 1/2-game lead, beating the Chicago Cubs 3-1 Tuesday to match their win total last year.

”People can call us a surprise,” Arizona outfielder Luis Gonzalez said, ”but this is a totally different team than last year.”

Steve Finley homered to tie the game at 1, and the Diamondbacks scored a pair of unearned runs to move ahead.

Arizona (65-49) has won four straight and 16 of 20. The Diamondbacks finished last with a 65-97 record last year in their inaugural season.

”We’ve been real lucky,” said Diamondbacks manager Buck Showalter, who hadn’t been to the postseason since he managed the 1995 New York Yankees. ”Everybody’s pulling in the same direction.”

At Chicago, Greg Swindell (2-0) pitched 3 1-3 shutout innings, and Gregg Olson pitched the ninth. Jon Lieber (8-6) is winless in six starts since July 10.

Marlins 8, Giants 7

Dave Berg went 4-for-4 with four RBIs, singling in the 12th for his second straight game-winning hit.

Ellis Burks homered twice and drove in three runs for the visiting Giants, who have lost five of six.

Florida, which has won five straight, overcame a 6-2 deficit and led 7-6 before Bill Mueller’s two-out RBI single in the ninth off Antonio Alfonseca, who had converted his previous 10 save chances.

Brian Edmondson (5-6) pitched two hitless innings, and Felix Rodriguez (2-3) was the loser.

Braves 6, Astros 4

Bret Boone drove in four runs and Tom Glavine (10-9) beat Houston for the seventh straight time as Atlanta (69-36) tied the visiting Astros for the best record in the NL and remained a half-game ahead of New York in the NL East.

Boone broke a 4-all tie in the seventh with a two-run double off Shane Reynolds (14-8). Boone and Chipper Jones homered on consecutive pitches against Reynolds in the first, and Ryan Klesko tied it at 4 with a sixth-inning homer.

John Rocker got three straight outs for his 24th save.

Mets 4, Padres 3

Rickey Henderson scored the tiebreaking run on John Olerud’s single off Andy Ashby (10-6) in the seventh at Shea Stadium as New York stopped a three-game losing streak, its longest since early June.

Olerud also had a two-run single and Roger Cedeno tied a Mets record with his 58th steal.

Turk Wendell (3-1) pitched one inning and Armando Benitez got his 13th save, sending the Padres to their fourth straight loss.

Phillies 7, Cardinals 5

Ron Gant crushed his former team again, delivering a three-run double in the eighth off Ricky Bottalico (1-6) as Philadelphia overcame a three-run deficit. Gant homered twice in a 12-6 loss Monday.

It also spoiled a big night for J.D. Drew, who responded to ferocious booing at Veterans Stadium with a triple, two runs, an RBI and a stolen base.

Mark McGwire, leading the majors with 44 homers, left in the second inning with tightness in his lower back.

Jim Poole (1-1) got the victory despite allowing Drew’s RBI single in the eighth. Wayne Gomes pitched the ninth for his 17th save.

Expos 6, Dodgers 4

Vladimir Guerrero homered twice off Ismael Valdes (8-11) and drove in four runs at Olympic Stadium as Montreal stretched its winning streak to four with its ninth victory in 11 games.

Mike Thurman (5-7) allowed four runs in 6 1-3 innings to stop the Dodgers’ three-game winning streak. Ugueth Urbina got four outs for his 26th save.

Brewers 2, Rockies 1

Dave Nilsson singled home the winning run in the 10th off Dave Veres (2-5), sending visiting Colorado to its fifth straight loss.

Pedro Astacio pitched six hitless innings before Rich Becker’s leadoff single to left in the seventh. Astacio allowed an unearned run and two hits in nine innings, striking out nine.

Rocky Coppinger (1-1) pitched two scoreless innings as Milwaukee won for just the fifth time in 17 games.