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D-Backs hand Lowry first major-league loss

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Even though he spent last season in the
American League, Javier Vazquez remembered how to beat the San Francisco Giants.

Vazquez pitched seven scoreless innings, helping the Arizona Diamondbacks hand Noah Lowry the first loss of his major league
career with a 2-1 victory over the Giants on Wednesday night.

Vazquez (1-2) allowed eight hits, struck out two and walked two
to win for the first time since returning to the National League in
the trade that sent Randy Johnson to the New York Yankees. He
entered the game with an 11.77 ERA this season before improving to
5-1 in his last six decisions against the Giants.

"I've actually felt as good or better my first three starts,"
Vazquez said. "I got a few breaks today and got the results."

The last time he faced the Giants, on Aug. 18, 2003, as a member
of the Montreal Expos, he pitched a shutout. Vazquez improved to
2-1 with a 2.10 ERA in four games at SBC Park.

"I've been on the other side of him shutting us out,"
Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said. "That's no surprise to me. I
knew he was going to give us an outing like this. He picked us up
big time."

Lowry (1-1) had been 7-0 in 22 games, including 16 starts. That
was the second-longest winning streak to start a career in Giants
history, behind Hooks Wiltse's 12-0 start in 1904.

Lowry gave up only two hits, but walked five and allowed both
runs in six innings. He struck out four and retired the final seven
batters he faced.

"I just didn't have it," Lowry said. "The winning streak
doesn't matter to me. I was just trying to find some consistency.
By the time I found it, it was too late."

The Diamondbacks, hitting only .204 through the first six games
of a seven-game road trip, won for just the second time in six
games. They also beat the Giants in San Francisco for the second
time in 12 games.

"It was just enough," the Diamondbacks' Luis Gonzalez said.
"This road trip we haven't hit as well as we'd like, but Vazquez
pitched great. He's been a dominant pitcher in the National League
his whole career."

Brian Bruney got the first two outs of the eighth, and Brandon
Lyon came on for the final four outs, earning his sixth save in
seven chances despite giving up his first earned run of the season
in his eighth appearance.

Pedro Feliz doubled with two outs in the eighth and Bruney
walked Edgardo Alfonzo before Lyon came in to strike out Marquis
Grissom.

"We had lots of offense," Giants manager Felipe Alou said.
"Even by accident we should have scored."

Durham hit a sacrifice fly off Lyon in the ninth before Omar
Vizquel flied to left with a runner on first.

Arizona scored its runs in the third with the help of an error.
Lowry walked Vazquez to open the inning and Craig Counsell grounded
to Lance Niekro, whose throw pulled Vizquel off second base and
both runners were safe.

Royce Clayton bunted, but Lowry forced Vazquez at third.
Gonzalez hit an RBI double off the center-field wall and Troy Glaus
followed with a sacrifice fly.

The Diamondbacks turned three double plays in the first five
innings to support Vazquez, who did not allow a runner past second
until the Giants left the bases loaded with two outs in the
seventh.

"Defense has been big for us all season," Melvin said. "It
was the difference in the ball game. It's almost routine the way
Counsell and Clayton come up with balls that has affected the
game."

The Giants had two runners on in the third, but Vizquel --
playing in his 2,139th game at shortstop, tying him with Alan
Trammell for eighth all-time -- grounded out. Feliz flew out with
two on in the sixth.

Game notes
Giants OF Moises Alou is expected to come off the DL on
Friday or Saturday, depending on weather conditions. ... The
Diamondbacks signed LHP Armando Almanza to a minor-league contract.
... A late scoring change gave the error in the third to Niekro
instead of Vizquel. ... Gonzalez has hit safely in 13 of 14 games.
... Alfonzo had two hits for his eighth multihit game. ... Vazquez
was 0-3 with an 11.81 ERA in three games at Candlestick Park, the
Giants home until 2000.