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D'Backs Heating Up With Win


Everything seems to be going right for Arizona these days.

Rob Ryan, the newest Diamondback, got the big hits and Montreal's Vladimir Guerrero, one of the best-throwing outfielders in baseball, rifled one too far off line on the go-ahead sacrifice fly as Arizona beat the Expos 5-4 Monday night, the ninth win in 10 games for the NL West leaders.

Ryan, called up from Triple-A Tucson on Aug. 16, was 3-for-4 with a home run and a crucial eighth-inning single for Arizona.

Bobby Chouinard (5-2) retired all five batters he faced, striking out three of them, to get the victory. Matt Mantei held off the Expos in the ninth for his 25th save in 29 opportunities, his 15th in 17 tries since being traded from Florida.

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  • Mantei allowed a one-out triple to Rondell White before fanning Orlando Merced and getting Jose Vidro on a fly out.

    With the score tied at 4 in the eighth, Montreal reliever Miguel Batista (7-7) walked Steve Finley, and then Ryan, after squaring to bunt on the first pitch, swung away on the second and singled to left, sending Finley to third.

    Kelly Stinnett struck out, then Greg Colbrunn, on a 3-2 count, lofted a fly ball to Guerrero in short right field. Finley took off from third to try to score on what was anything but a sure thing.

    "I was glad to see him take a sot at it," Arizona manager Buck Showalter said. "Nine out of 10 times, he's going to throw him out, but it's not like Fins is a turtle out there."

    Guerrero's throw was to the left of the plate and Finley slid in well before catcher Chris Widger could get there with the tag.

    "You've got to go right there," Finley said. "He's got a great arm. If he throws it on the line I'm dead. You're just taking a chance he's not going to throw it on the line.... You've got to play aggressive and make things happen."

    Montreal manager Felipe Alou said Guerrero can't be expected to throw the runner out every time.

    "The ball was way ahead of the runner. You don't make every throw right on target," Alou said. "There were a lot of things that led to that play."

    Arizona has beaten Montreal six of seven times this season, and five of the Diamondbacks' victories have come in the last at-bat.

    The Diamondbacks have won 13 of 15. Since June 20, they have a 30-8 mark, best in the majors.

    Arizona's Todd Stottlemyre, in his third start, first at home, since coming back from a partially torn rotator cuff, gave up four runs, three of them earned, on six hits in 5 2-3 innings. He struck out three and walked two.

    Montreal starter Jeremy Powell also didn't figure in the decision. He allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings, striking out a career-high seven and walking one.

    The Expos took a 3-1 lead in the third on consecutive RBI doubles by Guerrero and Brad Fullmer. The Diamondbacks tied it 3-3 in the fourth on a two-out, two-run homer by Ryan, his second in as many starts since coming up from Tucson.

    His hot hitting atoned for a mistake he made in the third inning when he failed to cover second base from right field. The Diamondbacks had Guerrero out at second after he retreated following a failed attempt to make it to third.

    "That was definitely my fault. I kind of got caught watching the play instead of getting to second base," Ryan said. "It cost us a run. It cost Stottlemyre some pitches. My next at-bat, that was definitely for Stottlemyre and not for me."

    Montreal scored an unearned run in the fifth when Merced doubled and took third when the center fielder Finley bobbled the ball. It was only Finley's second error of the season and first in 111 games.

    Arizona tied it again at 4 in the bottom of the fifth on Luis Gonzalez's RBI double, extending his hitting streak to 14 games.

    With one out and runners at first and third in the to of the seventh, Chouinard came on and struck out Guerrero, then Finley ran far to right field to catch Fullmer's hard-hit fly ball to end the threat.

    Notes

  • Arizona shortstop Andy Fox sat out his third game in a row with a sore rib cage and may go on the disabled list.
  • The Diamondbacks are 20-7 in August.
  • The Expos recalled right-handed pitcher Scott Strickland from Triple-A Ottawa and optioned right-hander Javier Vazquez to Class A Vermont.
  • Arizona's Tony Womack stole his 61st base in the first inning, a career best and most in the majors this season.
  • NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace threw out the first pitch.
  • The Diamondbacks' first five outs were strikeouts.
  • Guerrero has 29 RBIs this month, the most ever for an Expos player in August.

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