Diamondbacks 12, Mets 8

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PHOENIX (AP)—The Arizona Diamondbacks went going, going, Gonzo over the New York Mets on Monday night.

Luis Gonzalez homered in his first three at-bats and drove in four runs, and the Diamondbacks pounded the Mets 12-8 to snap a four-game losing streak.

Gonzalez said he felt so good when he came to the ballpark that he skipped batting practice.

“The first swings I took were in the game today,” he said. “I felt like I was taking a lot of swings early in batting practice, so I just wanted to take a day off from hitting and just go into the game and see what happens.”

Gonzalez had two chances for a fourth homer, but struck out looking in the fifth inning and grounded out to second in the eighth, leaving him with his second career three-homer game.

“Of course I thought about it,” he said of his shot at a four-homer game. “I mean, I have a chance to make history.”

Chad Tracy and Steve Finley also homered as Arizona tied its club record with five home runs in a game. Tracy, moved to the leadoff spot for the first time this season, also tripled and drove in three runs.

The Mets’ Mike Cameron is one of 15 major leaguers to hit four home runs in a game, and he thought Gonzalez would be No. 16 after his three homers in four innings.

“There was a whole lot of game left,” Cameron said. “The way he was swinging, I thought he was going to hit about five home runs.”

Gonzalez also hit three homers at Kansas City on June 8, 2001. With his 20th career multihomer game, Gonzalez increased his home run total to 10 this season.

His first two came off starter James Baldwin: a two-run shot in the first and leadoff home run in the third. His third, an opposite-field blast, came against Dan Wheeler to start the fourth inning. Finley also homered in the fourth, his 10th of the season.

Baldwin (0-1), just called up from Triple-A Norfolk, didn’t last long in his first start since Aug. 11, 2002. He allowed six runs on seven hits in two-plus innings.

Arizona starter Casey Daigle (2-1) staggered through five innings and got the victory despite being tagged for seven runs, six earned, on 12 hits. He left with a 12-7 lead.

The Mets’ Ty Wigginton went 5-for-5, setting a career high for hits. Eric Valent had his first career three-hit game, and Mike Piazza was 3-for-4 with two RBIs.

Cameron hit his seventh homer—a solo shot—in the ninth to cap the scoring.

In addition to the six home runs, there were many more that made it to the warning track in unusually windy conditions at the ballpark, where the roof was open but the big side panels were closed.

“I’ve never seen conditions like that in this ballpark in four years,” Arizona manager Bob Brenly said. “We’ve had winds on occasion, most notably the eighth inning (Game 7) of the World Series. But I’ve never seen it blow like it did tonight. It was playing like Wrigley Field with the wind blowing out.”

Cameron, one of the game’s best defensive outfielders, had trouble with a high fly ball and wound up stumbling and having it bounce off his glove.

“The wind was howlin’, going everywhere, kind of like Wrigley in Arizona,” he said.

Brenly shook up his batting order and the Diamondbacks responded by matching their highest-scoring game of the season.

New York outhit Arizona 17-14.

“The difference in the game was the fact that five of their balls left the ballpark and only one of ours did,” Mets manager Art Howe said. “It was like we were throwing jabs and they were throwing right crosses.”

The Mets led 4-3 after two innings. Piazza singled home one run and another scored on Jason Phillips’ groundout in the first. New York scored two more in the second, one when shortstop Alex Cintron threw the ball away on a double-play try and another on Kazuo Matsui’s RBI double.

Arizona blew open a 9-4 lead with a six-run third.

Gonzalez started it off with a home run, then Shea Hillenbrand and Finley singled to end Baldwin’s night. Danny Bautista had an RBI sacrifice fly off Wheeler, Cintron and Matt Kata singled in a run, then Tracy hit a three-runhomer, his second of the season.

Notes

The last player to hit three homers against the Mets in a game was Bobby Higginson on June 30, 1997, at Detroit. … Every Arizona starter scored a run within the first four innings. … The Diamondbacks placed RHP Oscar Villarreal on the 15-day DL with strained tendons in his right forearm. RHP Andrew Good was recalled from Triple-A Tucson and threw two scoreless innings. … Kata, moved from the leadoff to No. 8 in the order, ended a 1-for-22 slump with an RBI single in the third. … Matsui fouled a pitch off his right ankle in the fourth inning and left in a double-switch with one out in the bottom ofthe fourth.

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