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Fill-in starter making D-Backs' decision difficult

7/25/2002

PHOENIX (AP) -- John Patterson knows his first trip to the big
leagues probably won't last long. He just wanted to show he
belonged.

Mission accomplished.

In his second major league start, Patterson shut out San Diego into the eighth inning Thursday as the Arizona Diamondbacks won their fourth in a row, 10-0 over the Padres.

Matt Williams hit a three-run homer as the Diamondbacks extended their lead in the NL West to a season-high four games over San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Quinton McCracken doubled in three runs and Steve Finley singled
in two in Arizona's six-run seventh inning.

``It was just once again a group effort. Everyone contributed,'' Arizona manager Bob Brenly said, ``but this is John Patterson's day, no question about it.''

Patterson (1-0) allowed five hits in 7 1/3 innings in his first major league victory. He left the game to a standing ovation after giving up singles to Gene Kingsdale and Trenidad Hubbard in the eighth.

In the clubhouse, teammates doused Patterson with beer.

The outing matched the longest for Patterson since he missed
nearly all of the 2000 season because of elbow surgery.

``I knew I could do this. I learned the work that it took to be a major league pitcher and stay consistent, and not just come in for a couple of starts and disappear,'' he said. ``Yeah, I always believed I could do this. It's not really a surprise.''

The 24-year-old right-hander was brought up as a stop-gap when
Rick Helling went on the injured list with a sore right ankle. Helling is scheduled to come back for his next start Aug. 2.

In two starts, both against San Diego, since being called up from Triple-A Tucson, Patterson has given up one run and eight hits in 13 1/3 innings.

``We can't figure him out,'' Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. ``He threw strikes, had good command. He has good stuff.''

Patterson knew why he was called up, and that he probably will be back in Tucson soon, but he believes he has shown enough to make sure that he will be back again.

Brenly wouldn't comment on whether the two good outings would keep the youngster in the big leagues a little longer.

``When a guy goes out and gives up one run over 13 1/3 against a
very good hitting ball club, that does open your eyes a little
bit,'' Brenly said. ``But we've got other considerations, so we'll
see what happens.''

Patterson's performance came one day after Miguel Batista's
three-hitter in Arizona's 7-1 victory over Colorado.

Patterson and San Diego's 20-year-old lefty Oliver Perez faced each other for the second time in five days.

Last week in San Diego, Perez (3-3) threw seven scoreless innings but Arizona rallied against the Padres bullpen for a 7-1 victory. This time, he allowed four runs and six hits in five innings.

Perez gave up one run on just two hits through four innings, but
he walked Craig Counsell and gave up a two-out single to Luis Gonzalez in the fifth. Williams followed with a shot just over the left-field wall, his third homer after missing the first 87 games with a broken ankle.

He said he has hit five balls on the nose the last two nights.

``I hit the first one harder,'' Williams said of a line out to center in the second. ``I'm hitting them hard, and they're going to fall eventually. It's just nice to be out there again.''

Patterson escaped trouble in the seventh after a leadoff single
by Mark Kotsay in the seventh, and a walk to Klesko. Patterson
struck out Phil Nevin and Bubba Trammel, then Deivi Cruz lined out
to the shortstop Counsell to end the threat.

Patterson was helped by two big defensive plays.

Second baseman Junior Spivey saved a run in the fourth with a diving stab of Nevin's low line drive after Klesko doubled. Spivey flipped the ball to second for an inning-ending double play. McCracken made a leaping catch of Tom Lampkin's drive at the top of the right-field fence in the sixth.

Game notes
A fan down the right-field line made a one-handed,
bare-handed catch of Patterson's foul ball in the fourth, but was
called for fan interference because he snatched it just above the
open glove of Trammel. ... LHP Jason Kershner, called up from Triple-A Portland Thursday night, made his big league debut with the bases loaded and no outs in the seventh. He got Mark Grace to ground into a force out at home, but gave up a two-run single to
Finley and three-run double to McCracken. ... Spivey singled twice
in the seventh, the second one driving in a run.