Spivey makes the most of playing chances

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 22, 2003

PHOENIX -- All Junior Spivey wanted was a chance to play every day. Now he's making the most of it.

Spivey homered for the second time in three games and Luis Gonzalez drove in two runs, leading the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 9-3 victory Thursday night over the Cincinnati Reds.

''I've made no adjustments whatsoever,'' said Spivey, who has rebounded from a 5-for-31 slide by going 16-for-40 over his last 12 games. ''The more at-bats you get the better your chances are. I'm starting to relax a little. I'm not trying to press.''

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Alex Cintron also had two RBIs and pinch-hitter Shea Hillenbrand hit a two-run homer for the Diamondbacks. Arizona beat Cincinnati for the 18th time in 20 meetings and pulled within 2 1/2 games of Philadelphia in the NL wild-card race.

''Numbers on the board are always nice and winning the game is the primary concern,'' Arizona manager Bob Brenly said. ''But sometimes you have to look beyond the numbers and see what kind of at-bats did your guys have. Our guys had some good at-bats.''

Elmer Dessens (7-7) scattered three hits over 5 2-3 innings for his first victory since July 26, a span that included two no-decisions and two relief appearances. Dessens struck out two and walked one.

''I felt like my control, especially my fastball, felt pretty good,'' Dessens said.

The Diamondbacks needed little time to open a lead against Danny Graves (4-14), who lost his seventh straight. Matt Kata led off the game with an infield single and scored after consecutive one-out singles by Gonzalez and Carlos Baerga.

Spivey followed with a high drive that deflected off a railing inches above the left-field fence. His 13th homer put Arizona ahead 4-0.

Cintron added an RBI double in the second.

Graves allowed five runs on six hits and three walks in five innings.

''If not for the two innings we're still in the ball game,'' Reds interim manager Dave Miley said. ''Unfortunately, we couldn't hold them.''

After he left the game, Graves found out reliever and good friend Scott Sullivan had been traded to the Chicago White Sox just before the start of the game.

''It hurts,'' an emotional Graves said. ''I don't know how to think of it right now.''

Reggie Taylor led off the third with his second home run, and Sean Casey added a run-scoring groundout in the fourth for the Reds.

Dessens ran into trouble in the sixth. Ryan Freel singled to right, stole second and Dessens walked D'Angelo Jimenez. Mike Myers came on in relief and allowed an RBI single to Casey, cutting the lead to 5-3, but struck out Dernell Stenson to end the threat.

The Diamondbacks added four runs in the seventh on triples by Kata and Gonzalez, an RBI single by Cintron and Hillenbrand's homer.

Notes: Hillenbrand's pinch-hit homer was the second of his career and Arizona's fourth of the season. … Graves became the first Reds pitcher to go 4-14 since Joey Jay in 1963. … Arizona RHP Curt Schilling will take his regular turn Friday against the Chicago Cubs. Schilling, who hyperextended his left knee catching a return throw from the catcher Sunday in Atlanta, has worn a sleeve over his knee the past two days.