PHOENIX (AP) -- Randy Johnson didn't like much about his latest
start -- except the run support.
"The only reason we won today is because we scored 11 runs,"
he said Monday night after ending his first losing streak in four
years as the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the San Diego Padres 11-8.
"It wasn't because of my pitching or anybody else's pitching until
Matt Mantei came in to close the game."The Diamondbacks gained ground in the crowded NL wild-card race,
moving within 1½ games of Philadelphia and Florida, who are tied
for the wild-card lead. Eight teams are within three games of the
Phillies and Marlins.Alex Cintron and Robby Hammock hit two-run homers for Arizona,
and Luis Gonzalez and Matt Kata drove in two runs each.Johnson (4-6), struggling to regain the form that has won four
straight NL Cy Young Awards, allowed four runs and eight hits in
five innings and struck out four.After beating the New York Mets 7-4 on Aug. 10, he lost 10-4 to
Atlanta on Aug. 15 and 2-0 to Cincinnati on Aug. 20. It was the
first time he lost consecutive decisions since June 25 to July 10,
1999, when Arizona failed to score in four straight Johnson starts.He is 3-4 in eight starts since a 12-week stint on the disabled
list following surgery on his right knee. But manager Bob Brenly
thought his ace did well. He said Johnson threw 11 of 96 pitches at
96 mph or higher."We saw more evidence that that slider's coming back," Brenly
said. "His velocity was real good, but they made him work hard.
They fouled off a lot of pitches, ran deep into the counts."Mantei got five outs for his 20th save in 22 chances, his 13th
in a row.Jake Peavy (9-10) allowed six runs, six hits and four walks in
two-plus innings.Junior Spivey and Shea Hillenbrand had sacrifice flies for the
Diamondbacks, who have alternated wins and losses for nine
consecutive games, outscoring opponents 41-14 in the wins and
getting outscored 17-5 in the defeats.Arizona took a 3-0 lead in the first on Cintron's homer and
Spivey's sacrifice fly, and Gonzalez hit an RBI single in the
second.After Mark Loretta's sacrifice fly in the third, Hammock homered
in the bottom half for a 6-1 lead."It's been good to see our team wake up offensively," said
Cintron, who matched his career-best with his 12th three-hit game.
"The pitching has been doing a great job, and offensively we were
asleep."San Diego closed in the fourth when Sean Burroughs hit an RBI
triple and scored on Gary Bennett's grounder."We're not going to give up," Bennett said. "We're going to
battle you for 27 outs and see what happens. We're going to go
after whoever it is. Unfortunately, they got us tonight."Hillenbrand hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom half, but the
Padres pulled to 7-4 in the fifth on Phil Nevin's RBI single.Gonzalez hit an RBI double in the sixth, and Arizona made it
11-4 with a three-run seventh when Kata hit a two-run single and
Carlos Baerga scored on Mike Matthews' wild pitch.San Diego scored three runs in the eighth off Mike Myers on Lou
Merloni's RBI grounder and Loretta's two-run single."It was a slugfest," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "They
swung well, and Jake wasn't on. We had trouble shutting them down.
The first six innings, we couldn't put a zero up there."
Johnson is 12-2 in 18 starts vs. the Padres. ... Mondesi
tied a club record with his first-inning walk, reaching base for
the ninth time in nine appearances (four hits and five walks). Greg
Colbrunn set the record from April 22-30, 2000. Mondesi flied out
in the second. ... Peavy is 1-5 in nine starts since his
career-best, four-game winning streak ended July 4. ... Bennett had
three hits to improve to .375 (18-for-48) in August.