|Salazar hits pinch-hit homer to send D-Backs to sixth straight victory|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 11 September 2007 02:24|
Arizona manager Bob Melvin isn't surprised by late-inning heroics anymore, not even when they come from a young outfielder hobbling around on a bad ankle.
Jeff Salazar hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the ninth inning after being held out of the lineup, and the Diamondbacks pulled off yet another incredible comeback to beat the San Francisco Giants 5-3 on Monday night.
``Luckily it caught the barrel,'' said Salazar, a late scratch because of a sprained ankle. ``As hard as it is to hit a home run here, I'm still surprised it got out there.''
Salazar's two career homers have both come pinch-hitting against the Giants, with the first one last Sept. 18 while with the Colorado Rockies.
Salazar's shot off a 2-0 pitch from Brad Hennessey (3-5) into the arcade in right-center gave the Diamondbacks their sixth straight victory and increased their NL West lead to 3 1/2 games over idle San Diego.
Arizona swept defending World Series champion St. Louis during the weekend by a combined four runs - including two one-run victories. Eight of the Diamondbacks' last 11 wins have been by two runs or fewer.
``The way it's gone of late, as many close games as we've played and as the games with the Cardinals would suggest, as long as we still have at-bats left we still have a chance,'' Melvin said. ``Until the final out, we have a chance.''
Jailen Peguero (1-0) recorded two outs in the eighth for the win and Tony Pena finished for his second save in four chances.
In other NL games Monday, it was: Philadelphia 6, Colorado 5 in 10 innings; New York 3, Atlanta 2; Chicago 12, St. Louis 3; Pittsburgh 9, Milwaukee 0; and Washington 5, Florida 4.
At San Francisco, Bengie Molina hit a pair of solo home runs for the Giants. He homered leading off the second and again to start the fourth, both on 0-1 pitches from Livan Hernandez. Molina has a career-high 79 RBIs - 76 of them as a catcher, second-most in San Francisco history. Dick Dietz had 104 in 1970.
Molina's 19 home runs match his career high set last season with the Toronto Blue Jays. It was his third career multihomer game and second this year. He also hit two in a home game May 7 against the New York Mets.
Omar Vizquel followed Molina's first homer with bloop single to shallow left-center, then scored on Kevin Frandsen's RBI single for a 2-0 lead.
Tim Lincecum allowed six hits and two runs in 6 2-3 innings, struck out three and walked three for the Giants. The hard-throwing right-hander has only one victory in eight starts since beating Atlanta on July 26.
He left to a standing ovation when replaced by Tyler Walker with two outs in the seventh, after Emilio Bonifacio's second RBI single of the game cut San Francisco's lead to 3-2. Bonifacio was then caught stealing for the third out.
Brian Wilson pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, but Hennessey blew his fifth save. He allowed Stephen Drew's leadoff double and walked Justin Upton two batters later before Salazar connected.
``He made some great pitches after the double,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. ``The walk killed us, and then he got a ball up. They've won a lot of games like that, and that's why they're where they are. They got the timely hits and scored all their runs with two outs.''
Phillies 6, Rockies 5, 10 innings
At Philadelphia, Ryan Howard doubled home the winning run off Taylor Buchholz (6-5) in the 10th after Pat Burrell tied the game with a dramatic homer in the seventh, helping the Phillies close within 1 1/2 games of the wild card-leading Padres.
Brett Myers (4-6) pitched a scoreless ninth and 10th innings, leaving a runner stranded on third when he ended it.
Mets 3, Braves 2
David Wright hit a two-run homer and Oliver Perez (14-9) tossed another gem against visiting Atlanta, sending the Mets to their fourth straight win.
Billy Wagner got three quick outs for his 33rd save in 37 chances and third in three days.
Tim Hudson (15-8) yielded three runs and five hits in seven innings. He beat the Mets in his first two outings against them this season, but has lost twice to New York since Aug. 31.
Cubs 12, Cardinals 3
Aramis Ramirez homered twice and had four hits, and Ted Lilly (15-7) helped host Chicago pull even with Milwaukee atop the NL Central.
St. Louis is three games back of the leaders after losing its fourth straight.
Joel Pineiro (4-3) gave up two homers, three doubles and a single in a span of seven batters in the fourth. Derrek Lee led off with his 18th homer and, one out later, Ramirez hit his 21st.
Pirates 9, Brewers 0
At Pittsburgh, Tony Armas (4-5) pitched six sharp innings a day after Milwaukee hit six home runs, and Nate McLouth's two-run homer carried the Pirates.
Carlos Villanueva (7-4), making only his third start of the season, shut out Pittsburgh until rookie Nyjer Morgan singled in the fifth and scored on McLouth's 12th homer.
Nationals 5, Marlins 4
Wily Mo Pena homered twice and Shawn Hill (4-3) pitched six solid innings, helping visiting Washington send Florida to its third straight loss.
Chad Cordero pitched the ninth for his 33rd save in 41 chances.
Scott Olsen (9-13) allowed four runs in five innings. He's 0-4 with a 7.39 ERA in six starts since beating Houston on Aug. 5.