Kelly Stinnett’s high fly ball wasn’t quite as clear-cut, leaving him with a bizarre inside-the-park home run Monday night as the Arizona Diamondbacks beat San Diego 7-5 Monday night to trim the Padres’ lead in the NL West to 4 1/2 games.
“I’ll take them any way I can get them,” Stinnett said. “A home run’s a home run. It doesn’t matter.”
San Diego fell to 64-66. It’s the latest in a season that a team has led a division with a losing record.
With Tracy hitting his 20th homer, Arizona is the only NL team to have four players with 20 or more. Russ Ortiz (5-8) won for the first time in seven decisions.
Stinnett’s homer with two outs in the fourth, off Woody Williams, followed Tracy’s two-run shot, capping the four-run inning for a 5-1 lead.
Stinnett hit a high fly ball to left field, which Ryan Klesko leaped for at the fence and missed. The ball bounced high into the air and fell back onto the field. Third base umpire Bill Welke stretched out both arms horizontally to signal a fair ball, and didn’t gave the circular motion indicating a homer.
Stinnett never broke stride as he rounded the bases, and Welke appeared to point to home plate. Klesko, apparently thinking the ball had landed beyond the fence before bouncing back, walked over, picked it up and flipped it into the stands as Stinnett was rounding third base.
Fans sitting in the first two rows in left field said the ball bounced off a strip of chain-link fencing stretched horizontally between the top of the padded fence and a concrete retaining wall.
“I ruled it in play,” Welke said.
Klesko left the clubhouse before reporters were let in.
“It’s a tough call because I hit it so high and it just came straight down,” Stinnett said. “I just knew I hit it high. I didn’t know if it had the distance, so I just ran hard. I got to second and I saw no sign and I kind of let up for a second and then all of a sudden I saw the third-base umpire go ‘safe.’ So, I started turning it back on and Carlos at third base was waving me in, so I took off,” he said, referring to third base coach Carlos Tosca.
“He gave the ‘safe’ sign like it was in the park.”
Welke said that’s his way of indicating a ball is fair.
Since Welke ruled that the ball did not go over the fence, the decision on how to score it was left to official scorer Bill Zavestoski, who called it an inside-the-park homer.
“I saw it hit whatever and bounce up in the air, and Klesko obviously thought it was a home run,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. “But they said maybe it hit behind the pad on concrete. So they should do something about that.”
Padres manager Bruce Bochy said Klesko “took for granted that the ball went out and he tossed it into the stands. He thought it was out. That’s why he did what he did.”
Glaus hit a solo shot in the second off Williams, his 29th.
The Diamondbacks’ four runs in the fourth were unearned due to two errors by first baseman Xavier Nady. After Tony Clark singled to right, Nady let Green’s grounder go through his legs for a fielding error, then couldn’t hold onto Williams’ pickoff attempt, moving Clark to third and Green to second. Glaus’ sacrifice fly scored Clark and Green was aboard for Tracy’s homer to right.
Ortiz hadn’t won since May 18, at Houston. He was on the disabled from June 16-Aug. 12 with a stress fracture in his right ribcage. He allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings, walked one and struck out none.
Williams (6-11) lasted five innings, allowing four hits and five runs, one earned, struck out four and walked two.
Klesko hit a two-run homer in sixth off Ortiz, his 17th. It was his first in 96 at-bats since also connecting against Arizona on July 16. Williams hit a sacrifice fly in the third.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld sat with Padres owner John Moores and Hall of Famer Dave Winfield in Moores’ box for a few innings, then went down to the front row with Winfield for a few more innings. … San Diego has committed at least one error in six straight games, for a total of 13. … Arizona’s last inside-the-park home run was by Damian Miller on Aug. 18, 2002, at the Cubs. … Bochy said SS Khalil Greene will be activated from the disabled list on Tuesday and start against the Diamondbacks. He’s been out since breaking his left big toe on Aug. 14