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Back as leadoff bat, Finley 4-for-5

9/7/2003

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Steve Finley is back in an accustomed role,
and he's giving the Arizona Diamondbacks a much-needed boost as
they desperately cling to hopes of capturing the NL wild-card spot.

Finley, back in the leadoff spot after a two-year absence, had
four hits for the second straight game to help the Diamondbacks to
a 9-6 win Sunday over the San Francisco Giants.

Finley's two-run double tied the score, and pinch-hitter Danny Bautista followed with a two-run single to highlight a five-run
eighth inning.

Since moving back to the leadoff spot Thursday for the first
time since May 2001, Finley has hit .474 in four games.

"He's just desert-hot right now. He's hitting fastballs,
hitting changeups, finding spots," said Arizona manager Bob
Brenly. "He can be as hot as any hitter on the planet."

Brenly said he put Finley back into the leadoff spot "by
default" because he needed a spark at the top of the lineup. The
Diamondbacks have tried six others in that spot this season.

"I did it for my first six years, so it's nothing new. I know
how to do it, and I enjoy it," Finley said.

With Barry Bonds in a six-game homer drought, the Giants
resorted to a bunch of shorter hits -- 10 singles, including an RBI
bunt single, and a double -- to take a 6-4 lead into the eighth.

Bonds has not homered since being hospitalized for exhaustion
and an irregular heartbeat Aug. 31 in Phoenix. He has had few chances
-- in the three-game series against Arizona, he walked eight times.

But Giants reliever Joe Nathan (9-4) walked the bases loaded
with two outs in the eighth, and Finley doubled to right off Chad Zerbe. Bautista then singled off Matt Herges, and Luis Gonzalez
followed with an RBI single.

"That's a bad inning, and we're not like that, we haven't been
like that for a long time," Giants manager Felipe Alou said.
"They got some big hits, too, you've got to give them credit.
Usually with the bags empty and two out, you don't see a rally like
that."

The winner was Edgar Gonzalez (2-1), who pitched one inning.
John Patterson pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth for his first
save.

Nathan said he had no explanation for the three straight walks
that began the Arizona rally.

"I just couldn't find it," he said. "I can't be going in
there with a two-run lead and relax. I don't feel I did my job."

Ray Durham had a two-run single and Edgardo Alfonzo added a
two-run double on a ball that sneaked just inside third base as the
Giants scored five in the fourth to chase Arizona starter Elmer Dessens.

Yorvit Torrealba, a catcher whose bunt single knocked in the
Giants' first run in the second inning, also had an RBI single in
the fourth.

Giants starter Sidney Ponson allowed four runs on eight hits,
including a homer and two triples, in six-plus innings. He has been
battling the flu.

Raul Mondesi hit his second homer in two days, giving the
Diamondbacks a 2-0 lead in the first. His homer hit the pole in
left field. Alex Cintron added an RBI triple in the fourth, and Matt Kata had an RBI triple in the fifth.

Game notes
Bonds walked three times Sunday. He walked three times
Saturday (two intentional) and twice on Friday (one intentional).
... 2B Durham left the game after striking out in the fifth. The
Giants said he tweaked his right hamstring. ... Finley has had at
least four hits in a game four times this season and 29 times in
his career. ... Shea Hillenbrand went hitless in four at-bats
Sunday and is in a 5-for-38 rut. ... Mark Grace, 39, came into
the game as a pinch-runner in the eighth for Arizona. He said it's
the first time he can remember pinch-running. ... The Giants won
the season series 14-5 against Arizona, including a 7-2 record at
Pacific Bell Park.