Series: Game 1 of 4

Arizona leads 1-0 (as of 7/17)

Game 1: Thursday, July 17
San Diego1
Game 2: Friday, July 18
San Diego0
Game 3: Saturday, July 19
San Diego2
Game 4: Sunday, July 20
San Diego3

Diamondbacks 9

(53-42, 25-21 away)

Padres 1

(34-62, 18-30 home)

    5:05 PM ET, July 17, 2003

    Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California 

    123456789 R H E
    ARI 302040000 9 13 1
    SD 100000000 1 9 1

    W: C. Schilling (5-4)

    L: O. Perez (3-4)

    First win since DL stint for Arizona ace

    SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks couldn't have had a better start to the second half.

    Curt Schilling pitched seven strong innings to win for the first time since returning from the disabled list, and the Diamondbacks routed the last-place San Diego Padres 9-1 on Thursday.

    Schilling said he still has work to do after his six-week layoff with a broken right hand, but his manager was impressed.

    "This was a real good step in the right direction," said Bob Brenly, who will begin serving a two-game suspension Friday night for throwing a ball into the stands in Phoenix last week.

    Former Padres star Steve Finley hit a three-run homer in the first inning to start the Diamondbacks' scoring barrage. Finley had three hits and Luis Gonzalez three runs.

    Arizona, which started the day five games behind NL West leader San Francisco, won for the 20th time in 26 games. And the Diamondbacks could get Randy Johnson back Sunday after a 2 1/2-month layoff.

    Schilling (5-4) allowed just one run -- unearned because of his error -- and eight hits, struck out eight and walked one in his second start since coming off the DL.

    He missed six weeks after a line drive by San Diego's Sean Burroughs hit him on the back of the right hand here on May 30, breaking two bones. He had been hit on the right index finger by Ramon Vazquez's comebacker on his first pitch of that game.

    Schilling returned Saturday but lost 8-1 to the San Francisco Giants, allowing a 448-foot home run to Barry Bonds.

    Against the Padres, he allowed just an unearned run. Sean Burroughs' single in the first scored Mark Loretta, who had beat out an infield single and advanced on Schilling's errant pickoff throw.

    "I felt better," Schilling said. "I still have a ways to go. There's still some things that don't feel right, but when your offense goes out and does what it did today, it's a fun environment to pitch in."

    Schilling said his velocity isn't anywhere near where he wants it to be. He didn't feel he threw a good fastball until the seventh inning.

    "It's a work in progress," Schilling said. "I've always taken a lot of pride in being able to reach back and get four or five miles an hour, and I noticed in my rehab a couple of times, I tried it and it didn't happen. It hasn't happened as consistently as I'd like it to."

    Finley's 16th homer, on a 3-1 fastball from Oliver Perez (3-4), sailed deep into the seats in right field with two outs in the first. The runs were unearned because of an error on shortstop Vazquez, who couldn't hold onto first baseman Ryan Klesko's throw trying to start a double play.

    "Fins hasn't missed a beat," Brenly said. "He must have been hitting somewhere over the break. He was locked in up there, and for him to come up with a couple men on and cash them in the way he did was huge early in the game."

    Finley, who still has a home in Del Mar, just north of San Diego, said he played one day of soft toss during the break.

    "But I basically stayed on the beach for three days," he added.

    Shea Hillenbrand hit an RBI double and Alex Cintron an RBI single in the third to make it 5-1. The Diamondbacks scored four runs in the fifth. Cintron's RBI single chased Perez, and Chad Moeller followed with a two-run triple off the top of the right-field fence. Quinton McCracken added a sacrifice fly.

    Perez allowed eight hits and eight runs, five earned, in 4 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out two.

    "Ollie was wild in the strike zone," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "He had good stuff but had too much up in the zone.

    "It's a rough way to start the second half."

    Game notes

    Johnson returned to the Diamondbacks after his third minor-league rehab start and is tentatively scheduled to start Sunday against the Padres. The five-time Cy Young winner has been out since having knee surgery May 1. The Diamondbacks will determine the Big Unit's status for Sunday after his bullpen session Friday. The ace left-hander went on the disabled list April 28 and had arthroscopic surgery three days later to remove bone chips and loose cartilage from his right knee. ... Brenly was suspended for two games and fined by baseball disciplinarian Bob Watson for angrily throwing a ball into the stands after being ejected last Friday night against San Francisco for arguing balls and strikes. The suspension will begin Friday.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press