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Penny stingy as Arizona sets futility record

7/30/2003

MIAMI (AP) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks desperately need a remedy
for their batting slump. Brad Penny wasn't it.

Penny allowed one run and four hits in seven-plus innings
Tuesday night to lead the surging Florida Marlins to a 2-1 victory
over Arizona.

The Diamondbacks have been outscored 10-8 while playing six
consecutive one-run games, a club record. They've lost four of the
six.

"I think when we took the All-Star break, they took our bats
with them," left fielder Luis Gonzalez said. "We get guys on
base. We don't get the big hits to drive them in."

The latest defeat was Arizona's eighth in a row on the road,
another team record.

After the game, the Diamondbacks announced that they had
acquired outfielder Raul Mondesi from the New York Yankees for
outfielder David Dellucci and two minor leaguers.

"Raul Mondesi is a terrific offensive player," Arizona general
manager Joe Garagiola Jr. said. "And we needed a terrific
offensive player because we are struggling to score runs."

Surprising Florida extended its winning streak to five games and
remained one game behind NL wild card leader Philadelphia.

"It's fun," said Braden Looper, who earned his 20th save in 24
chances. "We're coming out here every day and it really feels like
we're going to win. It's unbelievable."

Arizona fell three games behind the Phillies. The Marlins will
go for a series sweep Wednesday when rookie sensation Dontrelle
Willis pitches against Randy Johnson.

Mike Lowell and Juan Encarnacion drove in Florida's runs in the
fifth against Brandon Webb (7-4), who departed for a pinch hitter
after five innings.

"You have to score runs to win, and we felt we had to hit (for
Webb) right there," Arizona manager Bob Brenly said. "That's a
lot earlier than we like to take him out of the ballgame."

The outing was Webb's shortest this year, and he allowed a
season-high two runs and nine hits.

Penny (9-8) retired 11 in a row before Gonzalez singled leading
off the seventh. Carlos Baerga walked, but Steve Finley flied out,
and Penny struck out Danny Bautista and Alex Cintron. In a rare
show of emotion, Penny repeatedly pumped his fist as he left the
mound.

"That was a big turning point in the game for me," he said.
"If one of those guys scores, we're probably still playing."

Penny, who started his professional career in the Diamondbacks
organization in 1996, improved to 2-0 lifetime against Arizona with
a 1.51 ERA in six starts.

"Penny threw a phenomenal game," Gonzalez said. "He had his
`A' game tonight. I think against us he tries to reach down and get
a little extra because this is where he started."

After Rod Barajas doubled to start the eighth, Ugueth Urbina
relieved and allowed a sacrifice fly by Matt Kata. Looper pitched a
perfect ninth to complete the five-hitter.

"There reaches a point when you can try too hard, and I think
as an offensive unit we've probably reached that point," Brenly
said. "Everybody wants to get hits, everybody wants to be an
igniter to turn this thing around. But the reality is that we don't
need to try harder, we need to try smarter."

The Marlins have won seven home games in a row, and they're nine
games above .500 for the first time since the 1997 World Series
championship season.

"It's pure fun and, I think, the first time these guys have
been involved in anything this exciting," manager Jack McKeon
said. "We're having a great time and hope it continues all the way
to October."

Consecutive singles in the fifth by Luis Castillo, Ivan
Rodriguez and Lowell made it 1-0. Rodriguez came home when
shortstop Cintron bobbled Encarnacion's grounder for an error.

Florida loaded the bases in the first with nobody out but failed
to score. Juan Pierre reached on an infield single, Castillo bunted
for a hit and Rodriguez was hit by a pitch. Webb then struck out
Lowell and Encarnacion, and Andy Fox grounded out.

That dropped the Marlins' average with the bases loaded to
.198.

Game notes
Rodriguez argued when called out on strikes in the seventh
and was ejected by umpire Scott Nelson. ... The game was Penny's
100th. His record is 35-32. ... Webb reached on an infield single
in the third and improved his average to .103 (3-for-29). ...
Arizona's Elmer Dessens pitched in relief for the first time this
season and threw two scoreless innings. ... The Diamondbacks' road
losing streak exceeds their previous longest skid of seven in April
1998.