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D'Backs' 1st Blasts Pirates


The way the Arizona Diamondbacks are homering

and winning away from Phoenix, there is no such thing as a home-field advantage for their opponents.

Luis Gonzalez, Matt Williams and Erubiel Durazo hit consecutive homers in Arizona's five-run first inning against Jason Schmidt, and the Diamondbacks beat Pittsburgh 7-5 Sunday.

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Game Summary

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  • Gonzalez added a solo homer in the ninth off Jose Silva his third homer in three games and drove in four runs. Omar Daal (13-6) withstood a four-run third inning for his 10th victory in his last 12 decisions.

    Cincinnati may be the Big Road Machine, but the Diamondbacks have excelled away from Bank One Ballpark since winning six of their first 18 road games. They have won 14 of their last 17 away from home and are 23-7 overall dating to Randy Johnson's victory in Seattle on July 20.

    The Diamondbacks relied on a multiple-homer first inning for the second time in three games, with Gonzalez, Williams and Durazo all homering to left field in a span of eight pitches by Schmidt (10-9).

    Arizona has 163 homers in 124 games, or four more than in their inaugural season a year ago.

    "I knew we had some potential to hit home runs," manager Buck Showalter said. "To have it happen all in same year, we're very lucky. You don't ever take it for granted."

    Gonzalez hit a 2-1 pitch for a three-run shot, Williams ended a 1-for-13 slide with his 30th homer and Durazo hit a 3-1 pitch for his third major lague homer. Gonzalez's homers were his 21st and 22nd.

    "It's fun, we're kind of feeding off each other, one guy does it and then the next one does," Gonzalez said. "We're having a good time. It's kind of like we're pushing each other. What makes it nice is the balance we have up and down our lineup."

    Tony Womack began the first with a single and moved to second on left fielder John Wehner's error. Jay Bell walked before the Diamondbacks hit three consecutive homers for the first time in their two seasons. They have had five other three-homer innings this season.

    "The ball was jumping pretty good out to left field," Gonzalez said. "I think we played the elements today."

    Prior to Sunday, Schmidt had yielded only 11 homers in 25 starts and once went five starts without surrendering a homer. Against the Diamondbacks, he trailed 5-0 before getting an out.

    "The ball just wasn't going where I wanted," said Schmidt, who was again bothered by a blister on his pitching hand. "I hung a couple of breaking balls. I was trying to force the ball and I didn't make the pitches I wanted to."

    The Pirates got back into the game with Kevin Young's two-run double he drove in three runs and RBI singles by Warren Morris and Brian Giles after Daal walked Schmidt to start the four-run third inning. Daal had pitched 11 consecutive scoreless innings over two starts.

    But Daal allowed only one more hit, Wehner's infield single in the seventh, while yielding six hits, striking out four and walking two over seven innings. He has lasted at least seven innings in each of his last six starts.

    "You've still got to go out and concentrate. You'll get in trouble if you think you'll have an easy game," Daal said. "You still have to go out and pitch your game."

    Arizona added a run in the fifth with the help of the Pittsburgh's second run-scoring balk of the series.

    With runners on third and first and one out, Andy Fox stepped out of the batter's box, then stepped back in. Schmidt tried to step off, but moved his hands and shuffled his feet while doing so and was charged with his fourth balk, tying him for the NL lead with the Dodgers' Darren Dreifort.

    The run, set up by Steve Finley's triple, became important when Kevin Young hit hi 20th homer and third in two games leading off the eighth against Gregg Olson.

    Matt Mantei struck out three pinch-hitters in the ninth for his 21st save in 25 opportunities and his 10th in 12 chances with Arizona.

    For the first time in the franchise's 112-year history, the Pirates have four players with 20 or more homers: Giles (28), Ed Sprague (21) and Al Martin (20) and Young.

    Notes

  • Gonzalez's multihomer game was his second of the season and sixth of his career.
  • The Pirates had won their last six Sunday games.
  • Schmidt failed for the third time to win his 11th decision.
  • Finley has three doubles, three homers, a triple and nine runs scored during an eight-game hitting streak.
  • The Diamondbacks are 5-1 in Pittsburgh since joining the NL.
  • Arizona has 88 homers in 65 road games.
  • Bell and Gonzalez homered consecutively in the first inning of Pittsburgh's 5-4 victory Friday.
  • Pirates LHP Jason Christiansen, just off the disabled list, was bothered by neck and back spasms while sitting in the bullpen and couldn't get loose while warming up in the seventh. He will be re-examined Monday.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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