Diamondbacks 11, Padres 8

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PHOENIX (AP)—Randy Johnson didn’t like much about his latest start— except the run support.

“The only reason we won today is because we scored 11 runs,” he said Monday night after ending his first losing streak in four years as the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the San Diego Padres 11-8. “It wasn’t because of my pitching or anybody else’s pitching until Matt Mantei came in to close the game.”

The Diamondbacks gained ground in the crowded NL wild-card race, moving within 1 1/2 games of Philadelphia and Florida, who are tied for the wild-card lead. Eight teams are within three games of the Phillies and Marlins.

Alex Cintron and Robby Hammock hit two-run homers for Arizona, and Luis Gonzalez and Matt Kata drove in two runs each.

Johnson (4-6), struggling to regain the form that has won four straight NL Cy Young Awards, allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings and struck out four.

After beating the New York Mets 7-4 on Aug. 10, he lost 10-4 to Atlanta on Aug. 15 and 2-0 to Cincinnati on Aug. 20. It was the first time he lost consecutive decisions since June 25 to July 10, 1999, when Arizona failed to score in four straight Johnson starts.

He is 3-4 in eight starts since a 12-week stint on the disabled list following surgery on his right knee. But manager Bob Brenly thought his ace did well. He said Johnson threw 11 of 96 pitches at 96 mph or higher.

“We saw more evidence that that slider’s coming back,” Brenly said. “His velocity was real good, but they made him work hard. They fouled off a lot of pitches, ran deep into the counts.”

Mantei got five outs for his 20th save in 22 chances, his 13th in a row.

Jake Peavy (9-10) allowed six runs, six hits and four walks in two-plus innings.

Junior Spivey and Shea Hillenbrand had sacrifice flies for the Diamondbacks, who have alternated wins and losses for nine consecutive games, outscoring opponents 41-14 in the wins and getting outscored 17-5 in the defeats.

Arizona took a 3-0 lead in the first on Cintron’s homer and Spivey’s sacrifice fly, and Gonzalez hit an RBI single in the second.

After Mark Loretta’s sacrifice fly in the third, Hammock homered in the bottom half for a 6-1 lead.

“It’s been good to see our team wake up offensively,” said Cintron, who matched his career-best with his 12th three-hit game. “The pitching has been doing a great job, and offensively we were asleep.”

San Diego closed in the fourth when Sean Burroughs hit an RBI triple and scored on Gary Bennett’s grounder.

“We’re not going to give up,” Bennett said. “We’re going to battle you for 27 outs and see what happens. We’re going to go after whoever it is. Unfortunately, they got us tonight.”

Hillenbrand hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom half, but the Padres pulled to 7-4 in the fifth on Phil Nevin’s RBI single.

Gonzalez hit an RBI double in the sixth, and Arizona made it 11-4 with a three-run seventh when Kata hit a two-run single and Carlos Baerga scored on Mike Matthews’ wild pitch.

San Diego scored three runs in the eighth off Mike Myers on Lou Merloni’s RBI grounder and Loretta’s two-run single.

“It was a slugfest,” Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. “They swung well, and Jake wasn’t on. We had trouble shutting them down. The first six innings,we couldn’t put a zero up there.”

Notes

Johnson is 12-2 in 18 starts vs. the Padres. … Mondesi tied a club record with his first-inning walk, reaching base for the ninth time in nine appearances (four hits and five walks). Greg Colbrunn set the record from April 22-30, 2000. Mondesi flied out in the second. … Peavy is 1-5 in nine starts since his career-best, four-game winning streak ended July 4. … Bennett hadthree hits to improve to .375 (18-for-48) in August.

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