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D'Backs Do Wonders Vs. Expos

Who says expansion team pitching is lousy?

Certainly not the Montreal Expos and New York Mets. They combined for just five hits in Arizona's last two games.

Andy Benes limited the Expos to three hits in eight innings Monday night as the Diamondbacks beat the slumping Expos 6-1. The effort came one night after Arizona's Omar Daal gave up two hits in eight innings in a 6-1 win over the Mets.

"When you have a guy like Omar going out and throwing as well as he has, I think it's natural that the pitching staff wants to follow in line," Benes said. "I made good pitches when I needed to for the most part. I pitched pretty well."

David Dellucci hit a three-run triple to provide all the runs Benes (11-11) needed as Montreal dropped to 0-7 on its road trip. Benes retired the last 13 batters he faced and won his fourth consecutive start to reach .500 for the first time since he was 3-3 in mid-May.

"He's very quietly putting together the type of year that he's known for," Arizona manager Buck Showalter said, "a strong second-half pitcher who gives you a chance to win if you catch the baseball and score some runs."

Alan Embree completed the three-hitter with a perfect ninth.

Tony Batista continued his hot streak with a home run and a double. In his last 12 games, Batista has six homers and is batting .386 (17-for-44). Four of Batista's homers have come in the last three games Benes has started.

With the victory, the Diamondbacks' record is just 1 ½ games worse than Montreal's and a sweep of the three-game series would put them ahead of the Expos. Montreal manager Felipe Alou didn't want to talk about the mounting losses.

"We've already had three seven-game losing streaks," Alou said.

Batista's 11th homer put Arizona ahead in the first against Jeremy Powell (1-3), but Chris Widger's RBI single tied it in the fourth.

Powell walked Travis Lee and Matt Williams in the bottom half and, one out later, Jay Bell beat out a slow grounder toward third.

"It's the walks that kill you," Powell said, "especially the leadoff walks."

Dellucci, who lost his starting job when Arizona traded for Bernard Gilkey, played center field because of Devon White's sore hamstring. He hit Powell's first pitch over the head of center fielder F.P. Santangelo just below the 407-foot sign. Dellucci scored for a 5-1 lead when Kelly Stinnett beat out a nub hit toward first.

Dellucci was glad to get a chance to play a role other than pinch hitter.

"I think I've been pressing too much the last couple of pinch hits," he said. "I've been trying to do too much with each swing. Today I was able to relax, and hopefully I'm oing to continue to do that."

Powell allowed five runs and four hits in four innings. Williams added an RBI single in the fifth.

Notes:

  • The crowd of 39,367 was the smallest of the season at Bank One Ballpark and the first one under 40,000.
  • White and Gilkey didn't start because of minor injuries sustained when they converged on a fly ball Sunday night against New York. White hurt a hamstring making the catch and Gilkey banged his knee on White's foot.
  • The Expos are 1-11 on Mondays.
  • Dellucci's triple was his seventh, one fewer than teammate and fellow rookie Garcia, who is tied for the NL lead.

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