PHOENIX (AP) -- Casey Fossum adjusted his delivery and changed
his luck in the process.
Fossum threw seven strong innings for his first win in over a
month and Shea Hillenbrand hit a three-run homer to cap a five-run
fifth inning and lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 6-3 victory
over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night.
Fossum (3-12) scattered seven hits over seven innings to end a
six-game losing skid and win for the first time since July 1. He
had toyed with shortening his stride by more than a foot during a
between-start bullpen session and unveiled the new delivery against
"The first two or three innings, I was getting used to it,"
Fossum said. "Then in the fourth, I think with (Jason) Kendall up,
I cut it loose."
Fossum retired eight straight hitters after Kendall's two-out
single in the fourth and 10 of the final 11 batters he faced.
"Even early in the game it didn't look like he was throwing
hard, but he made some pitches well," Arizona manager Al Pedrique
Pedrique said there had been some discussion of moving Fossum to
the bullpen, though the Diamondbacks already are short on starting
"Sometimes I respond well to stuff like that," said Fossum,
who walked two and struck out five in his second-longest outing of
the season. "I pitch better when I'm under pressure, and I was
under the pressure of losing my job and going back to the
Scott Hairston also homered for the Diamondbacks, who snapped
Pittsburgh's four-game winning streak and won for just the second
time in 13 games.
Jason Bay hit his 17th homer for the Pirates, who fell 7½ games
behind San Francisco in the NL wild-card race.
"What you want to do is win every series you can," Pirates
manager Lloyd McClendon said. "We came in and took two out of
Pittsburgh took an early 3-0 lead on Kendall's two-run double in
the second and Bay's 452-foot homer onto the concourse behind the
left-center field stands leading off the third.
Quinton McCracken cut the lead to 3-1 on an RBI single in the
bottom of the third before Arizona took its first lead of the
three-game series in the fifth against John Van Benschoten (0-1).
Hairston led off with his second homer in three games and Juan
Brito doubled down the left-field line. After Fossum moved the
runner over with a sacrifice bunt, McCracken hit a ground-rule
double to left-center to score Brito and tie the game at 3.
Alex Cintron singled and, one out later, Hillenbrand hit his
13th homer into the left-field stands to give the Diamondbacks a
"We did some good things tonight and put it all together,"
Greg Aquino pitched the ninth for his fifth save.
Van Benschoten, the eighth overall pick in the 2001 draft,
allowed six runs and seven hits with a walk and four strikeouts in
his major league debut.
"I just left a few pitches up and they took advantage of
them," Van Benschoten said. "I kind of lost my rhythm a little
bit and got a little bit rushed, but that happens. It was pretty
fun out there. I really didn't have that many butterflies. I took
it as another start."
Van Benschoten, recalled from Triple-A Nashville early
Wednesday, was sent back to the minors after the game. The Pirates
play a five-game series in St. Louis beginning Thursday and have
not announced a starter for the second game of Friday's
"I thought he did all right," McClendon said. "I liked his
stuff. I liked his poise out there. He's going to be all right.
What you have to understand is the toughest inning for every
pitcher in baseball, particularly young, inexperienced pitchers is
the fifth inning when you've got a lead. You want to get through
the fifth because that seals the victory for them."
Fossum's last win came against San Diego. ... After the
game, the Diamondbacks optioned infielder Tim Olson to Triple-A
Tucson and activated catcher Alan Zinter from the 15-day disabled
list. ... Bay's homer tied for the 18th-longest in Bank One
Ballpark's seven-year history. ... The Diamondbacks placed catcher
Koyie Hill on the 15-day disabled list and purchased the contract
of catcher Chris Snyder from Double-A El Paso. ... The Pirates
designated right-hander Willis Roberts for assignment to make room
for Van Benschoten. ... Pedrique switched to uniform No. 12 from
No. 21 in honor of the late Roberto Clemente's 70th birthday.
Clemente's No. 21 was placed on the left-field wall for the game.