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Matt Guides D'Backs By Cubs


Forget the 104 RBIs. Matt Williams wanted to talk about Arizona's 66 wins.

"My RBI total is nothing compared to our win total. That's what we're concerned with," Williams said Wednesday after leading the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 7-5, 11-inning victory over the Chicago Cubs.

Williams hit a two-run double in the 11th and had four RBIs, taking over the league lead from Mark McGwire.

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Game Summary

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  • The Diamondbacks, who have won five straight and 17 of their last 21 games, improved to 66-49 and topped their win total from 1998, when they were 65-87 in their expansion season. They lead second-place San Francisco by 7 1/2 games in the NL West.

    "It's nice to have a bit of distance between us," said Randy Johnson, who struck out 11 in eight innings. "But we've still got a ways to go."

    Dante Powell doubled with one out in the 11th off Steve Rain (0-1), Jay Bell chased Rain with an infield single and, one out later, Williams doubled into the left-field corner off Dan Serafini.

    Williams hit a two-run homer in the third, and Cubs manager Jim Riggleman went to the mound to talk to Serafini before Williams hit in the 11th.

    "If I had to do it over again, I would've put him on," Riggleman said. "Danny's intent was good. The execution wasn't there."

    Riggleman had told Serafini not to give Williams anything good to hit.

    "Throw around him," Serafini said. "I tried to throw a slider away and I ung it down the middle. He told me `Don't throw a strike' and that's exactly what I did."

    Johnson, who left with a 5-3 lead, lost a win when the Cubs tied the game in the ninth on Henry Rodriguez's RBI double off Matt Mantei and Glenallen Hill's run-scoring infield single.

    Mantei, who blew a save for the second time in 11 chances since Arizona acquired him from Florida on July 9, was hit on the right foot by Hill's ball and left the game with a bruise. Hill was 4-for-5 with two RBIs.

    Dan Plesac (2-1) pitched 1 1-3 hitless innings, and Gregg Olson got the final out for his 13th save in 19 chances.

    Johnson fanned Sammy Sosa three times and reached double digits for the 18th time in 26 starts this season and the 120th time in his career. He raised his league-leading strikeouts total to 273 and got the 2,600th of his career when Benito Santiago whiffed ending the sixth.

    Johnson, who has won twice in his last six starts, gave up three runs two earned six hits and six walks. He lowered his NL-leading ERA to 2.59.

    "Randy's been pitching 11 years and smarter people than me haven't figured him out," Riggleman said. "You've just got to get a strike and hit it."

    Gary Gaetti's liner struck Johnson in the left elbow in the fourth innings, but the pitcher stayed in the game.

    "I never considered coming out," Johnson said.

    Arizona took a 5-3 lead in the top of the ninth on Bell's RBI single off Scott Sanders and a throwing error by second baseman Jeff Blauser that allowed Bell to score.

    Andrew Lorraine, making his second start since the Cubs called him up Friday, gave up three runs two earned and nine hits in seven innings.

    Arizona went ahead in the first when Luis Gonzalez scored from first as Sosa overran Williams' single to right for an error.

    Hill's RBI double tied the score in the bottom half, and Williams' 26th homer put Arizona ahead 3-1 in the third.

    Chicago, which has lost five straight and 11 of 14, tied the score in the sixth on an RBI grounder by Manny Alexander and a run-scoring error by Bell on a relay from second.

    Notes

  • Arizona is 10-10 in extra innings this season.
  • The Diamondbacks have scored five or more runs just 11 times in Johnson's 26 starts.
  • The Cubs have committed 101 errors, equaling last year's total.
  • The Diamondbacks optioned RHP Erik Sabel to Triple-A Tucson and activated pitcher RHP Darren Holmes from the disabled list. Holmes had been sidelined since July 18 because of lower-back problems.
  • OF Steve Finley returned to Phoenix to undergo treatment for a bulging disc.
  • The Cubs averaged 37,823 during the 13-game homestand and have drawn 1,997,910 fans to Wrigley Field.

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

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