Diamondbacks 6, Reds 5

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PHOENIX (AP)—Steve Finley gave the Arizona Diamondbacks the lift they needed Sunday.

Finley went 4-for-4 with a three-run homer and three runs scored as the Diamondbacks beat the Cincinnati Reds for the 14th straight time, 6-5 Sunday.

Finley’s three-run homer in the fifth inning, his ninth, pulled Arizona within 5-4 after Cincinnati opened a 4-0 lead in the first inning.

“I’m not trying to hit homers,” Finley said. “He left a changeup up over the middle of the plate and I took advantage of it.”

The Diamondbacks’ fifth straight win and seventh in eighth games pulled them within six games of NL West-leading San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The victory also gave Arizona its first series sweep of the season and extended its winning streak against Cincinnati, which dates back to May 7, 2001.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Mark Grace, whose seventh-inning sacrifice fly scored Luis Gonzalez with the winning run. “That’s a good ballclub over there but it seems we’ve had their number the last couple or three years.”

Kent Mercker (0-1) entered in the bottom of the seventh with Cincinnati holding a 5-4 lead. But Finley and Carlos Baerga opened the inning with consecutive singles and Mercker walked Luis Gonzalez on four pitches to load the bases. Mercker then walked David Dellucci on five pitches to tie the game 5-5.

“How many did we walk today, a hundred,” Cincinnati manager Bob Boone said. “We let them back. We gave it to them.”

Chris Reitsma relieved Mercker and got Robby Hammock to hit into a force play at the plate. But Mark Grace hit a high fly ball down the left-field line, and Gonzalez scored easily to give the Diamondbacks a 6-5 lead.

“I was fortunate to hit the ball deep enough to score Gonzo,” Grace said. “If it were me on third, I’d probably still be standing out there.”

Eddie Oropesa (1-1) pitched one hitless inning for the win. Jose Valverde pitched the ninth for his seventh save in as many chances.

Valverde has appeared in Arizona’s last five games, saving four and winning one.

“The guy says he wants the ball every day,” Arizona manager Bob Brenly said. “The moral of the story is be careful what you ask for.”

The Reds used four hits and a hit batter to take a 4-0 lead in the first inning against Andrew Good.

Adam Dunn led off the game with a single to center, Ray Olmedo beat out an attempted sacrifice bunt for a single and Good hit Ken Griffey Jr. to load the bases.

Jose Guillen followed with a sacrifice fly. One out later, Sean Casey doubled to the wall in right-center to score two runs. Kelly Stinnett added an RBI single to left, scoring Casey for a 4-0 lead, but was caught in a rundown to end the inning when the throw home was cut off.

The Diamondbacks answered with a run in the bottom of the inning, loading the bases with one out against Reds starter Ryan Dempster before Dellucci drew a run-scoring walk. But Dempster struck out Hammock and got Grace to hit a hard liner to second to escape the jam.

Juan Castro extended the lead to 5-1 with a fourth-inning sacrifice fly.

The Diamondbacks pulled within a run in the fifth. Chad Moeller led off with a single and Tony Womack singled one out later. Finley followed with athree-run homer a half-dozen rows into the right-field stands.

Notes

Arizona RHP Brady Raggio relieved Oropesa in the eighth for his first major league appearance since June 24, 1998, when he was a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. … Only 49 of Dempster’s 91 pitches were strikes. … Good surrendered more runs in the first inning alone than he had in any of his previous four starts, but bounced back to strike out the side in the second. He matched a career-high with seven strikeouts over five innings. … Arizona 3B Craig Counsell, on the disabled list since May 7 because of surgery on his right thumb, was at the White House on Sunday for the beginning of the annualT-ball program.

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