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D-Backs still lead Giants by 3½ games in West

8/31/2001

PHOENIX (AP) -- When Steve Finley was their most effective
pitcher, the Arizona Diamondbacks were in serious trouble.

The Arizona center fielder pitched a scoreless ninth inning, but
the San Francisco Giants roughed up four genuine Diamondbacks
pitchers in a 13-5 rout Thursday night to avoid being swept by the
NL West leaders.

"When you've got Steve Finley on the mound in the ninth,"
Arizona manager Bob Brenly said, "it's been one of those days, but
we won two out of three, and we're content with that."

Barry Bonds didn't hit a home run, but Rich Aurilia, John Vander
Wal and pitcher Jason Schmidt did.

Bonds went without a home run in the series to remain at 56. He
singled in two at-bats and walked three times on Thursday.

Schmidt, who improved to 4-1 in six starts since being acquired
from Pittsburgh, also had a broken-bat, RBI single with two outs in
the seventh and a sacrifice bunt that led to a run in the sixth. He
scored twice.

Shawon Dunston had a pinch-hit, bases-loaded triple in San
Francisco's six-run eighth.

San Francisco had 25 base runners, 17 on hits, seven on walks
and one on a hit batter.

Brenly talked to Finley before the game about using him as a
pitcher in an emergency someday.

"I shouldn't have said anything to him," Brenly said. "It
probably jinxed the whole night."

Finley, who last pitched in a game in college but constantly
fools around with pitches during warmups, got his chance because
Brenly didn't want to go deeper into the bullpen with Arizona
playing a doubleheader in San Diego on Friday night.

"I wasn't nervous. I was having fun out there," Finley said.
"It's never fun to lose, but in a game like this you know you're
going to lose with a score like that, so you can go out there and
have a little fun in the ninth inning."

He got Calvin Murray to fly out, walked Andres Galarraga, hit
Jeff Kent with a knuckleball and got Dunston to ground into a
double play.

The Giants pulled within 3 1/2 games of Arizona and stayed a
half-game behind Chicago in the wild card race. San Francisco had
lost five of six and had scored one run in the first two games of
the series.

"We needed that offensive explosion," Giants manager Dusty
Baker said, "and more than that we needed the game. We're back to
3 1/2 and hopefully we can cut it some more this weekend before they
come in next week."

Arizona plays three games in San Francisco starting next
Tuesday.

The loss snapped the Diamondbacks' nine-game home winning
streak.

Aurilia drove in three runs with his 29th home run of the season
in the third inning to give the Giants their first lead of the
series, 3-1.

"Hopefully this gives us some momentum going into our
homestand," Aurilia said. "It's a pretty big homestand for us. We
see these guys again in five days."

Vander Wal hit a 429-foot shot to right-center field, his 14th
homer, to lead off the fourth. Schmidt hit his second home run of
the season, but first with the Giants, on the first pitch from
Miguel Batista with two outs in the fourth to put San Francisco up
5-1.

Schmidt (10-7) gave up two runs on five hits in 6 2-3 innings.
He walked five, struck out two and threw 120 pitches before leaving
with a runner on first and Luis Gonzalez coming to bat with two
outs in the seventh.

"It was a struggle for me to tonight," Schmidt said. "I
wasn't throwing a lot of strikes. The big lead really helped me
through that more than anything."

Left-hander Jason Christiansen struck out Gonzalez, who was
hitless in three at-bats after hitting his 49th and 50th home runs
in the previous two games.

Batista (9-8) allowed five runs on six hits in four innings. He
had been 3-0 since Aug. 4 in two starts and two relief appearances.

Kent, hitting .184 in the first nine games of the road trip, was
dropped from fourth to fifth in San Francisco's batting order. He
was 3-for-5 with a double and RBI single. Marvin Benard was 3-for-6
with a double and two RBI.

Greg Colbrunn hit a pinch-hit solo home run in the eighth, the
Diamondbacks' 14th pinch-hit homer of the season, a major league
record. Arizona and San Francisco had shared the record of 13 this
year.

Game notes
The Giants finished their road trip 4-6 and return home for
seven games, four against Colorado before the Diamondbacks come to
town. ... Aurilia has a career-high 81 RBI. ... David Dellucci's
two-out, pinch-hit RBI double gave him a .364 average as a pinch
hitter (16-for-44) with 16 RBI. ... Gonzalez fouled a ball of his
forehead the pitch before striking out in the seventh.