<
>

Rookie Overbay delivers game-winning shot in 12th

4/7/2003

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Lyle Overbay couldn't stop smiling.

His first major league home run, a two-run shot in the 12th
inning, gave the Arizona Diamondbacks a 6-4 victory over Los
Angeles on Monday in the Dodgers' home opener.

"You kind of dream about it,'' he said. "I was wondering if it
would ever come or not.''

The 26-year-old rookie need wonder no longer. Pinch hitting for
Matt Mantei (2-0) with two outs and a runner at first, Overbay hit
a 1-0 pitch from Andy Ashby (0-1) into the right-field pavilion.
Craig Counsell had singled to lead off the inning.

"I was just trying to get a good pitch and drive it in the
gap,'' Overbay said. "To stay through a ball, that's the big
thing. I knew I was close. I wasn't taking advantage of my pitches,
I was fouling them off.''

Overbay began the season as Arizona's first baseman, but was
just 2-for-15 this year (.133) and 4-for-27 as a major leaguer
(.148) when he came to the plate.

"I've been feeling better in the cage,'' he said. "It's kind
of a relief to take it out in the game.''

Scott Service, Arizona's sixth pitcher, got three outs for his
first save since Sept. 22, 2000, for Oakland at Seattle. It was the
16th save of his career.

The Diamondbacks overcame a three-run deficit to stop a
four-game losing streak.

"At the beginning, it looked like once again the guys weren't
able to generate enough offense,'' Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly
said. "Hopefully, this will get us jump-started.''

The decision was the first as a reliever for Ashby, the sixth
Los Angeles pitcher. The 35-year-old right-hander has made 273 big
league starts and appeared in relief 15 times, including twice this
year.

"It's a little different coming in during the game, but the
bottom line is you've got to make pitches,'' Ashby said. "I didn't
make one, and that cost us the game. I tried to go down and away,
and I ended up hanging it right down the middle of the plate.''

A sellout crowd of 53,819 -- the largest opening-day attendance
in Dodger Stadium history -- came out to see LA's No. 2 team. The
Dodgers aren't used to having the World Series champion Anaheim
Angels block their spotlight.

Adrian Beltre and Fred McGriff homered for the Dodgers.

Arizona scored only 12 runs in its first six games with one
homer. The Diamondbacks were blanked by Kevin Brown in the first 6
1-3 innings Monday and trailed 3-0 before Chad Moeller hit a solo
homer.

Counsell hit a two-out, RBI triple off Guillermo Mota later in
the seventh and Luis Gonzalez tied the game with his first homer of
the year, a drive off Tom Martin leading off the eighth. It was
Gonzalez's third hit of the game and first RBI this year.

The Diamondbacks took a 4-3 lead off Paul Quantrill in the 10th
on Steve Finley's two-out, run-scoring single, but the Dodgers tied
it in their half when Brian Jordan hit a two-out, RBI single off
Mantei.

Los Angeles went ahead against Elmer Dessens in the third on
Paul Lo Duca's two-out run-scoring single after Dave Roberts beat
out an infield hit to keep the inning alive.

Celebrating his 24th birthday, Beltre hit a 3-1 pitch into the
lower seats in the left-field corner with two outs in the fourth
for his first homer.

McGriff hit a two-out, full-count pitch into the right-field
pavilion in the sixth for his second homer of the season and the
480th of his career to give the Dodgers a 3-0 lead.

But they couldn't make it stand up.

Brown threw 99 pitches in his second strong effort of the season
-- both against Arizona. The 38-year-old right-hander allowed one
run and five hits in 6 1-3 innings.

"He's been pretty dominant,'' Jordan said. "We just hope he
can stay healthy.''

Dessens gave up six hits and three runs in six innings.

The game marked the beginning of the 42nd season at Dodger
Stadium, which opened in 1962 -- four years after the Dodgers moved
west from Brooklyn. It lasted 3 hours, 54 minutes and was the
longest home-opener by innings in Los Angeles.

The Dodgers are 24-22 in home openers since the move.

Game notes
The Diamondbacks placed C Rod Barajas on the 15-day
disabled list and recalled C Robby Hammock from Triple-A Tucson.
Barajas strained his left hamstring Sunday in Colorado. ...
Ceremonial first pitches were thrown by former Dodgers stars Ron
Cey, Steve Garvey and Bill Russell, who formed three-quarters of
the infield that stayed together a record eight-plus seasons
starting in 1973. Davey Lopes, the fourth member, is a coach with
San Diego. ... Melissa Manchester sang the national anthem and four
U.S. Navy FA-18 Hornet fighter jets flew over before the game. ...
The Diamondbacks stopped a nine-game road losing streak dating to
last year.