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Diamondbacks use two-run rally in ninth to hold off Braves

PHOENIX (AP) -- For the second consecutive game, the Arizona
Diamondbacks dug themselves a big hole in the first inning.

This time they climbed all the way out of it.

The Diamondbacks trailed Atlanta by five runs before their first
at-bat, went ahead in the sixth inning, fell behind again in the
ninth and then rallied for a 10-9 victory Friday night.

In the ninth against Atlanta closer Chris Reitsma (1-2), Shawn
Green doubled in the tying run and Craig Counsell singled home the
game-winner as the Diamondbacks moved into first place in the NL
West, a half-game ahead of San Diego.

"We don't want to make that a habit, but it's definitely
exciting," Luis Gonzalez said. "When we fall behind, we still
have that confidence."

That's why the Diamondbacks didn't panic when they found
themselves trailing by five runs in the first inning. Two nights
earlier, they trailed San Diego 10-0 in the second inning and
brought the tying run to the plate in the sixth before losing
14-10. They've rallied to win a game after trailing 6-0 and erased
six- and seven-run deficits in losses.

"It's happened so much, it's like it doesn't matter what the
score is, almost," Counsell said. "I think we feel like at some
point we're going to get back in the game, and that's a pretty good
feeling."

The Braves had a sick feeling, getting the loss despite
finishing with 16 hits.

The Diamondbacks' final rally nullified a big night by Atlanta's
Adam LaRoche, who hit a grand slam and singled home the go-ahead
run in the ninth off Arizona closer Jose Valverde (2-1). Valverde
allowed a leadoff double to Brian McCann. Pete Orr pinch ran for
McCann, took third on Jeff Francoeur's fly ball and scored on
LaRoche's line-drive single to center.

LaRoche went 3-for-5 and drove in a career-high five runs for
the Braves, who had won four straight.

Reitsma (1-2) couldn't hold the lead. Gonzalez led off with a
double and scored on Green's double one out later. The Braves
intentionally walked Johnny Estrada. After Orlando Hudson flied
out, Reitsma hit Tony Clark, a .164 hitter, with an 0-2 pitch.

That turned out to be a huge mistake when the .312-hitting
Counsell lined a single to right to end it.

"I was just brutal," said Reitsma, who blew his third save in
10 chances. "I feel like this one's on me. I feel terrible about
it."

Arizona came all the back from an early 5-0 deficit and took an
8-6 lead, but Chipper Jones hit a two-run single off Brandon Lyon
to tie it in the eighth.

The Braves jumped ahead against starter Miguel Batista. After
Marcus Giles and Edgar Renteria singled, Batista walked Jones to
load the bases.

Batista struck out Andruw Jones, then walked McCann to force in
a run.

Batista was close to escaping the jam when he struck out
Francoeur for the second out. But LaRoche launched a pitch into the
pool area beyond the right-center field wall for his second career
grand slam, and the Braves led 5-0.

"We're down five, and we come back in the dugout and it's like,
'We've been there, we've done this before, don't try to do too
much,' " Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "I think that's one of
the keys is that we don't feel like we have to get it all back in
one inning.

"I think we've done this enough times to know that and to
believe in ourselves and to just keep coming back and keep
persevering."

Batista found his groove after his first-inning meltdown,
retiring 10 straight batters beginning in the third inning. He
allowed five runs and eight hits with three walks in six innings,
striking out five.

Arizona got one run back in the bottom of the first on
Gonzalez's single and pulled to 5-2 on a fourth-inning sacrifice
fly by Estrada, whom the Braves traded to Arizona last winter.

The Diamondbacks kept chipping away at Atlanta starter John
Thomson, who had allowed more than one earned run in only one of
his first seven starts.

In the fifth, Gonzalez drove in run with a groundout and Conor
Jackson had a sacrifice fly to make it 5-4.

With two aboard in the sixth, DaVanon fell behind Thomson 0-2
before belting a 2-2 pitch into the right-field seats to give
Arizona a 7-5 lead.

Game notes
LaRoche's other regular-season grand slam came off former
Dodgers pitcher Jeff Weaver on May 13, 2005. LaRoche also hit a
grand slam in Game 4 of the NL division series against Houston last
October. ... The Braves announced that RHP Travis Smith, who has
been pitching for Triple-A Richmond, will start Saturday. ...
Thomson singled twice to raise his average to .389 (7-for-18).