Owings nets fourth win of year as Byrnes puts D-backs ahead with two-run blast

PHOENIX (AP) -- Eric Byrnes says this is no illusion in the desert: The Arizona Diamondbacks are this good.

Byrnes hit the go-ahead, two-run homer, and Micah Owings became the season's fourth four-game winner Monday night when the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the San Francisco Giants 4-2.

Mark Reynolds and Orlando Hudson hit solo home runs as the Diamondbacks improved their major league-best record to 14-5.

"A lot of good baseball players in here," Byrnes said in the clubhouse. "I don't think this is an aberration the way we're playing. I think this is the type of team that this is."

Arizona is 13-3 against NL West foes.

"It's something I've never been a part of before," reliever Chad Qualls said. "It's a great start. The way we're pitching, the way we're hitting, the way we're playing defense. We're doing everything we should be doing. When you're doing everything right, you should be winning games."

Owings (4-0), who started the season as the No. 5 pitcher in the Arizona rotation, joined teammate Brandon Webb, Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka and Florida's Mark Hendrickson as the season's first pitchers with four wins. The 25-year-old right-hander allowed two runs, including Fred Lewis' solo homer, and five hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out four, walked one and hit two batters.

He beat the Giants for the second time this season.

"I'm definitely pounding the zone but I'm also mixing my secondary stuff," Owings said. "That's something we keyed on in the spring. I feel like my stuff is better that it ever has been."

Owings' strong start came after a rough spring.

"He's a pretty confident guy and has been a winner his whole career," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "Once he got off to a good start in that first game, he just started rolling."

One of the game's best hitting pitchers, Owings was 1-for-2 and scored a run.

All nine starters had hits for the Diamondbacks, who lead the majors with 120 runs.

"It's amazing the strides they've made from last year," Giants starter Kevin Correia said. "I mean, all those guys are such good hitters, even the pitcher. You've got no weaknesses. It's tough to really bear down against all nine hitters and not make any mistakes."

He led off the fifth with a single, then Byrnes' high fly ball off Correia (1-3) barely cleared the left-field wall for a two-run homer and a 3-2 lead.

Owings retired 10 in a row before he hit Bengie Molina with two outs in the sixth. Aaron Rowand followed with his second double of the night. Molina, one of the slowest players in baseball, held up at third as the Diamondbacks bobbled the relay throw. John Bowker lined out to shortstop Stephen Drew, ending the threat.

Owings faltered with one out in the seventh, hitting Emmanuel Burriss and walking pinch-hitter Ray Durham. Qualls, in his 10th appearance of the season, relieved and threw one pitch, a sinker that Lewis bounced to second for a double play.

"I owe him a dinner," Owings said.

"I'm keeping tabs," Qualls responded.

Closer Brandon Lyon gave up a two-out single to Jose Castillo, then struck out pinch-hitter Rich Aurilia for his fourth save in six tries.

Hudson's home run came off Merkin Valdez in the seventh. With the Giants trailing 4-2, Eugenio Velez hit one over the head of Arizona center fielder Chris Young to lead off the eighth, but tried for a triple and was called out on a close play on the relay throw from Drew.

Velez thought he was safe, but knew he should have stayed at second.

"It's just growing pains you have with young players," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's being aggressive there, and there was no stopping him. Everybody in the dugout was yelling no, but he just made up his mind he was going for it."

Correia allowed three runs and six hits in six innings for San Francisco, which took a 1-0 lead on Castillo's RBI single in the second. Reynolds' sixth homer of the season, a line shot into the left-field seats, tied it in the bottom half.

Lewis hit Owings' first pitch of the third into the pool area in right to put the Giants ahead 2-1.

Game notes
Arizona INF Chad Tracy, recovering from microfracture knee surgery, was sent to Tucson for extended spring training. ... Burriss, called up from Triple-A Fresno on Sunday, out a double play try for a fielder's choice in his first major league at bat. He went 0-for-2 and was hit by a pitch.