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Nomo returns off DL

PHOENIX (AP) -- As dismal as Arizona's season has been, there
have been occasional signs of improvement.

Shea Hillenbrand hit a two-run double, Brandon Webb pitched six
strong innings and the Diamondbacks beat the Los Angeles Dodgers
3-1 Wednesday night.

Shane Nance and Mike Koplove each pitched a scoreless inning of
relief, and Greg Aquino got his 10th save in 10 tries for the
Diamondbacks, who have the worst record in the major leagues, but
have won three of five.

"The whole team is going out there and doing the little things
right and being consistent," Hillenbrand said. "And that's what
it takes."

Alex Cintron drove in a run with one of his two doubles,
spoiling the return of Los Angeles' Hideo Nomo from the disabled
list after a bout with rotator cuff inflammation.

Nomo (3-11), activated hours before the game, allowed four hits
and struck out seven in six innings in his first start since June
30. But he walked five and threw just 65 strikes in 110 pitches to
lose his eighth start in a row and 10th in his last 11.

"I thought Hideo Nomo did a nice job," Dodgers manager Jim
Tracy said. "The only thing disappointing about the outing was the
couple of walks that really helped to set up the three-run
inning."

Despite Nomo's struggles, the Dodgers still lead the San
Francisco Giants by 5½ games in the NL West. The Giants lost 4-1 to
Colorado.

Webb (6-14), who leads the National League in losses, is 2-0 in
his last four starts and limited the Dodgers to three hits and
three walks, striking out seven.

The Dodgers' lone run was unearned after the second of two
Arizona errors.

"I think that's the best stuff I've had all year," he said.
"My arm felt great, I was throwing a little bit harder and I got
ahead of most of the hitters."

Webb, who has issued 101 walks in 29 starts, said he made a
mechanical adjustment to avoid overextending toward his glove side
to cut down on the walks. He had a no-hitter through four innings
and a shutout through five.

The Dodgers cut their deficit to 3-1 in the sixth. Webb walked
Milton Bradley and allowed a single to Adrian Beltre.

Shawn Green grounded to Hillenbrand, but the first baseman tried
for a double play and the ball hit Beltre in the back for a
throwing error -- Arizona's 110th of the season -- and skipped into
left field, allowing Bradley to score.

But Webb regrouped, striking out Hee Seop Choi, Alex Cora and
Brent Mayne in succession to end the inning.

"When he throws strikes he's tough," said Mayne, a
Diamondbacks catcher until he was traded to Los Angeles on July 31.
"He could throw a fastball every single time, and he'd be tough to
hit. He sinks the ball so well, it's just a matter of him being in
the strike zone."

Arizona scored three times in the third after Nomo, who retired
the first eight batters, experienced control problems.

He walked Webb on four pitches, walked Andy Green, gave up
Cintron's RBI double and loaded the bases with a free pass to Danny
Bautista.

Hillenbrand then drove in two runs with a blooper that dropped
in front of Bradley in left.

"That's a manager's dream to get the lead early and let your
starter work deep," Arizona manager Al Pedrique said.

Webb survived a ragged fourth without allowing a hit or run,
thanks to a runner-interference call against Green.

Beltre reached first with two out on a throwing error by Tracy
at third, and Webb walked Green. Choi grounded to second, and the
ball went off Cintron's glove as Beltre raced home.

But second-base umpire Joe West ruled that Green interfered,
giving Cintron an unassisted putout.

Game notes
Arizona LF Quinton McCracken pulled his right groin batting
in the first inning and left the game. The team said he was
day-to-day. ... Webb has allowed only three earned runs during his
unbeaten streak. ... Arizona CF Luis Terrero stole two bases. ...
The loss snapped the Dodgers' eight-game winning streak against the
Diamondbacks.