Arizona (54-46) at San Francisco (63-37)

Partly Cloudy Currently: San Francisco, CA
Temp: 65° F
  • Game info: 10:15 pm EDT Wed Jul 23, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Arizona Diamondbacks are losing ground in the NL West despite having aces Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling back in the rotation.

Miguel Batista hopes to end the Diamondbacks’ losing skid at four games as Arizona resumes an important four-game series with the first place San Francisco Giants.

Arizona’s losing streak coupled with a six-game San Francisco winning streak has propelled the Giants to a nine-game lead over the Diamondbacks in the NL West.

It is San Francisco’s largest margin since finishing 11 games ahead of the Dodgers in 2000.

The Giants beat Schilling for the second time in 10 days to win their sixth straight game 3-1 on Tuesday. Marquis Grissom had two hits, including an RBI single, to lead San Francisco.

Schilling, who made his third start since missing six weeks with a broken right hand, gave up three runs and nine hits while striking out seven over seven innings.

The loss dropped the Diamondbacks to 0-4 at Pac Bell Park this season.

Batista is not nearly as dominating as Schilling or Johnson, but the right-hander has been one of the Diamondbacks’ best pitchers over the last three months.

The 32-year-old hurler is 4-1 with a 2.41 ERA in his last eight starts, and boasts a 7-2 mark with a 2.77 ERA on the season.

Batista was brilliant his last time out, going the distance in a 6-0 win over San Diego on Friday. Batista allowed five hits and struck out five.

The Giants will send converted reliever Jim Brower to the mound against Batista.

Brower is 2-1 as a starter with his only bad outing coming against Arizona on July 13. The veteran right-hander yielded six runs and four hits in 1 1-3 innings of a 7-4 loss.

“I got killed at Arizona,” said Brower. “As a starter, you have to sit around for four days and think about it.”

STANDINGS: Diamondbacks - 2nd place, 9 GB, NL West. Giants - 1st place, NL West.

DIAMONDBACKS PROBABLE STARTER: Batista (7-4, 2.77 ERA). Batista is 4-2 with a 2.15 ERA on the road this season.

GIANTS PROBABLE STARTER: Brower (6-2, 4.04 ERA). Brower earned another start after pitching six sharp innings in a 7-0 win over Colorado on Friday. The veteran right-hander matched his career high with seven strikeouts and held the Rockies to just three hits.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Diamondbacks - Luis Gonzalez, .311 avg., 18 HRs, 67 RBIs and 69 runs; Steve Finley, Dave Dellucci and Tony Womack, 8 SBs. Giants - Barry Bonds, .325 avg., 31 HRs, 65 RBIs and 74 runs; Grissom, 8 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Giants, 8-2.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Diamondbacks - RHP Bret Prinz hit 97 mph on the radar gun Tuesday during a rehab outing for Triple-A Tucson. He could come off the DL this week. Prinz suffered a groin tear in Arizona’s first game of the season on March 31. … The Diamondbacks are 2-4 since the All-Star break. … Arizona’s 3.85 ERA ranks third in the NL. San Francisco is fourth with a 3.91 ERA. Giants - OF Bonds is hitting .333 with four home runs in 21 career at-bats against Batista. … San Francisco’s six-game winning streak is its longest since May 3-9. … LHP Chad Zerbe is the Giants probable starter Thursday. He will replace RHP Jason Schmidt, who will skip his next start as a precaution because he has mild tendinitis in his right forearm and elbow area.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Diamondbacks - 26-25 on the road; Giants - 33-15 at home.

INJURIES: Diamondbacks - C Rod Barajas (wrist), 15-day DL; OF Danny Bautista (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Mike Koplove (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Prinz (groin), 60-day DL. Giants - C Benito Santiago (finger), 15-day DL; OF Marvin Benard (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Kurt Ainsworth (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Robb Nen (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Kirk Rueter (shoulder), 15-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Batista Col vs. J. Brower Hou
10-9 Record 8-5
3.54 ERA 3.96
142 K 65
60 BB 39
1.33 WHIP 1.29