Batista remains unbeaten since joining rotation


PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks certainly miss
injured ace Randy Johnson. There's no doubt they would be missing
him a lot more if it weren't for Miguel Batista.

Lyle Overbay's tiebreaking homer kept Batista unbeaten since
moving into Arizona's starting rotation, and the Diamondbacks held
on to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 Sunday.

Overbay drove in both runs as the Diamondbacks won for the
second time in the three-game series and sent the Pirates to their
eighth loss in nine games. The Pirates' 5-13 home record is the
NL's worst, and they have lost all six series at PNC Park.

This time, the Pirates did little with Batista (3-2), who held
them to one run and five hits in six innings. In his six starts
since filling in for Johnson on April 16, Batista is 3-0 with three
no-decisions and a 1.42 ERA.

"He was impressive,'' Quinton McCracken said. "I don't know
how many bats he broke, but it probably was enough to make a

Now the Diamondbacks hope Batista can stay in the rotation. The
appeal of his 10-game suspension for fighting with the Cardinals'
Tino Martinez will be heard Monday and, unless it is overturned or
shortened, he might miss a start.

"He seems to be locked in, and it's confidence,'' manager Bob
Brenly said. "He had a couple of shaky outings early ... but his
velocity is up and he's throwing hard.''

Batista didn't feel that well, perhaps because a steady,
game-long wind kept blowing dust and debris across the field, and
was lifted after throwing 91 pitches.

"I was dizzy,'' he said. "I couldn't stop sneezing.''

That wind didn't prevent Overbay's drive from carrying over the
right-field stands leading off the sixth, a homer made the
difference as Batista outpitched Pirates starter Kip Wells (1-2).

Overbay, a rookie, already has the reputation of laying off
first pitches. Wells apparently tried to sneak a down-the-middle
fastball by him, just as he did while striking him out in the

"I wanted to get that same pitch again and take advantage of
it.'' said Overbay, who came out of a 4-for-31 slump. "That's
probably as hard as I can hit it.''

Wells, Pittsburgh's most consistent starting pitcher despite
winning only once in eight starts, was hurt again by wildness while
allowing two runs and five hits in seven innings.

He walked Luis Gonzalez with two outs in the first, one of 26
walks he has allowed in 51 1/3 innings. Matt Williams followed with
a high-hop single that Wells couldn't corral behind the mound and
Overbay grounded an RBI single past second baseman Abraham Nunez
into right.

Wells has a 2.05 ERA in four starts at PNC Park yet, given
little run support, is 0-6 in 11 starts there since June 26.

"You hate to see him keep pitching this well and have nothing
to show for it,'' Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. "You don't
want him to feel he has to throw a shutout every time he takes the

Pittsburgh's only run came when Nunez's RBI single in the second
scored Rob Mackowiak, who was hit by a Batista pitch.

Brenly used three relievers to get through the seventh and
eighth innings before Matt Mantei pitched the ninth for his sixth
save in seven opportunities.

Kenny Lofton doubled off the top of the right-field wall with
two outs in the ninth, just missing a tying homer, but Mantei got
Jason Kendall on a short fly ball on the next pitch.

"I was a little rusty, not pitching (since May 3), but a save
is a save as long as it gets done,'' Mantei said.

The Arizona defense made several excellent plays to support
Batista and the bullpen.

McCracken made a sliding, on-his-stomach catch of Matt Stairs'
sinking liner to center with runners on first and third in the
fourth. Tony Womack went deep into the hole at shortstop to throw
out Jack Wilson to end the eighth, although replays appeared to
show Wilson safe.

Wilson was ejected, apparently because he told umpire Fieldin
Culbreth the replay showed him safe. Players are not allowed to
cite TV replays when arguing. McClendon also came out to argue but,
unlike Friday night's game, was not ejected.

Game notes
Arizona is 13-6 in Pittsburgh and 28-12 against the
Pirates. ... Overbay's homer was his first since April 14 against
Colorado. ... Arizona starting pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim (bruised
right ankle) will make a rehabilitation start Monday for Triple-A
Tucson. ... The Pirates have lost seven of eight home games. ...
Pittsburgh is 2-7 against the NL West. ... The Pirates have lost
nine of 10 series since winning their first two.