Diamondbacks 8, Expos 5
PHOENIX (AP)—The Arizona Diamondbacks held a meeting Tuesday to talk about their struggling offense. Whatever was said, it worked.
“We’re professionals. We know we’re not scoring runs,” said Luis Gonzalez, whose two-run triple gave the Diamondbacks an 8-5 lead. “We see it every day in the paper, so we know that. But sooner or later things will turn around.”
Hillenbrand helped stake Randy Johnson to a 6-1 lead. The Expos chased Johnson (2-4) with a four-run rally in the sixth inning.
Gonzalez was among the veterans who called the team meeting after the usual afternoon scouting discussion.
“We’ve got good hitters,” Gonzalez said. “It’s just a matter of not trying to do so much.”
Arizona’s offensive outburst was its largest since a 9-1 win at San Diego on July 17. The win was the Diamondbacks’ second in their last eight games and made them 6-12 since the All-Star break.
“I didn’t know we had crooked numbers on the scoreboard,” Arizona manager Bob Brenly said.
Johnson, who had received just three runs of support over his last three starts, pitched five strong innings before running into trouble.
Vladimir Guerrero led off the Montreal sixth with a 463-foot home run into the second-desk restaurant in left. Orlando Cabrera singled and Johnson walked Wil Cordero and Joe Vitiello to load the bases.
Oscar Villareal relieved Johnson, walked Jamey Carroll to reload the bases and threw a wild pitch that allowed Vitiello to score and cut the lead to 6-5.
Villareal, making his NL-leading 60th appearance, retired Jose Vidro on a fly ball to left to end the inning.
Johnson allowed five runs on eight hits over 5 2-3 innings, with eight strikeouts and three walks.
“I thought I threw pretty well for the first five innings,” Johnson said. “But things fell apart in the sixth inning for whatever reason and things got out of hand. I’ll just take a mulligan and go out and get ready for my next start.”
Matt Mantei pitched the ninth for his 13th save in 15 chances.
Gonzalez put Arizona ahead 8-5 with a two-run triple in the bottom of the sixth.
Hillenbrand sent the Diamondbacks to an early 5-1 lead. He hit an RBI single in the first and added a three-run homer, his eighth, in the second.
Arizona had just three hits over the first two innings but took advantage of five walks from Montreal starter Claudio Vargas (6-8).
Expos manager Frank Robinson said after the game Vargas was struggling with pain in his shoulder, though the pitcher didn’t tell the coaching staff until after the first inning.
Alex Cintron had an RBI double in the fifth to extend Arizona’s lead to 6-1.
“We just can’t seem to get anybody in middle relief to hold anybody in thelast month or so,” said Robinson, who used seven pitchers.
Guerrero’s homer was the fifth-longest ever at Bank One Ballpark. … Johnson struck out pinch-hitter Henry Mateo leading off the fifth inning for his 3,800th career strikeout. … 2B Junior Spivey and CF Steve Finley collided while chasing Macias’ fly ball to lead off the third. Spivey made the catch as Finley called for the ball in shallow center, and the two bumped knees and shoulders as they collided. Both remained in the game at the time, though Finley was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the fifth with a bruised left shoulder. X-rays were negative and Finley was listed as day-to-day. … Vargas has lasted a total of 2 1-3 innings in his last two starts, allowing 12 runs on six hitswith eight walks. … The Diamondbacks are 6-1 when Hillenbrand homers.