Diamondbacks keep Dodgers on the skids

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Thanks to Luis Gonzalez, the Arizona
Diamondbacks made it seven wins in eight games.

Less than 10 minutes later, it became a rather meaningless

"It's unfortunate we played well too late. It's over,"
Gonzalez said after his two-run homer in the eighth inning sent the
Diamondbacks to a 4-3 triumph over the Los Angeles Dodgers on
Wednesday night.

"I think it's frustrating for every team in our division," he
added. "Nobody jumped out and took hold of it."

When the game ended, the San Diego Padres (79-79) were close to
completing a 9-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants to clinch
the NL West championship.

The Diamondbacks were mathematically alive, albeit barely, when
the day began.

"It is definitely a disappointment," said Chad Tracy, who
homered and singled to drive in the first two Arizona runs. "We
didn't accomplish our goal. Now, we're just going to go out and win
for ourselves, play for pride, I guess."

With the Dodgers leading 3-2, Yhency Brazoban (4-10) walked
Craig Counsell to open the eighth, and Gonzalez followed by hitting
a 2-1 pitch into the right-center seats for his 24th homer.

Brandon Medders (3-1) worked a hitless seventh to earn the

Tim Worrell pitched a scoreless eighth, and Jose Valverde
retired the Dodgers in order in the ninth to earn his second save
in two nights and 13th in 15 chances this season. Valverde has not
allowed an earned run in 14 2/3 innings spanning his last 13

"We did everything we could do tonight. We made the most of
four hits," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. "A leadoff walk
followed by a home run, and then (Brazoban) settles down and mows
down the next three."

The Diamondbacks have a seven-game winning streak against the
Dodgers, and are 12-5 against them this year after going 3-16
against them last season.

The loss was the ninth in 12 games for the Dodgers, who need to
win three of their last four games to avoid only their second
90-loss season since moving to Los Angeles in 1958. The 1992 team
went 63-99.

Tracy hit his 26th homer off D.J. Houlton in the first and added
a two-out RBI single in the third to give the Diamondbacks a 2-0

Arizona starter Shawn Estes retired 12 of his first 13 batters
before suddenly losing command in the fifth. The Dodgers loaded the
bases with one out on two walks and a single by Dioner Navarro, and
Estes hit pinch-hitter Mike Edwards with a pitch to force in a run.

Rookie Willy Aybar followed with a two-run single to put the
Dodgers ahead 3-2. Estes, who failed for the third time to earn his
100th career victory, came out at that point after aggravating an
injured left ankle that sidelined him for two months earlier in the

"It just hasn't felt right," Estes said. "It seems every day
it hasn't gotten better. It hasn't gotten worse until I pitch. By
the fifth inning, I couldn't push off it anymore."

Estes allowed three hits and three runs in 4 1/3 innings.
Houlton gave up four hits and two runs in five innings before being
lifted for a pinch-hitter.

Dodgers left-hander Wilson Alvarez made the final appearance of
his career in the seventh, but it was brief. The 35-year-old
left-hander departed after Shawn Green, the only batter he faced,
lined a single through the box that glanced off his pitching hand.
X-rays of his ring and pinky fingers revealed no fractures.

"He embodies everything an L.A. Dodger should be --
professionalism, goodness, and special to his teammates," Jim
Tracy said. "He's a consummate professional."

Alvarez, who had announced his retirement effective at season's
end, said he thought his hand was broken when the ball hit him.

"Right now, that's it for me. I'm done, and I don't want to
make a big deal out of it," he said.

Game notes
Estes singled in the fifth for his second hit in 29 at-bats
this season. ... Dodgers left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo struck out two
batters in one scoreless inning of work, giving him nine strikeouts
in five big league innings. ... Chad Tracy, who went 2-for-4, has
hit safely in 10 straight games with 21 hits in 41 at-bats during
the streak. ... The Dodgers have committed 102 errors this season --
third-fewest in franchise history. Last year's team set the club
record, making only 73 errors. ... Diamondbacks 3B Troy Glaus made
a throwing error in the fifth to snap Arizona's club-record streak
of 94 straight errorless innings.