Diamondbacks 8, Orioles 3
PHOENIX (AP)—The Arizona Diamondbacks spent little time celebrating their 8-3 victory over Baltimore on Sunday, which gave them sole possession of first place in the NL West for the first time since April 30.
That’s because they open a four-game series on Monday night with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who knocked them off their perch nearly two months ago.
“We’ll look at the standings tomorrow and we’re in first place, but there’s a lot of baseball left,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. “(We) feel good about where we are right now, but keep our nose to the grindstone each at-bat and each pitch.”
Stephen Drew and Chad Tracy homered and Eric Byrnes drove in two runs as the Diamondbacks won for the seventh time in nine games. The victory, coupled with San Diego’s 4-2 loss to Boston, gave Arizona a one-game lead over the Padres. The Diamondbacks have a 1 1/2 -game edge over the Dodgers.
The last time the Diamondbacks had sole possession of first place was after a 9-1 rout of the Dodgers on April 30. Arizona dropped its next five games.
“Hopefully, it’s not short-lived,” starting pitcher Doug Davis said. “It’s too early to worry about losing first place. It’s going to come down to September anyway.”
Arizona’s 44 wins are the most in the league, but the Diamondbacks aren’t bragging about it with 86 games remaining.
“We’re going to keep grinding,” said Tracy, who hit a solo shot in the eighth inning for his fifth homer. “There’s a lot of games left. We’ve got to keep pushing and good things will happen.”
The Diamondbacks have built their record by punishing weak teams— especially Baltimore, which they beat five times in six games the past two weekends.
On Sunday, the Diamondbacks built an early lead and coasted behind Davis (5-8), who allowed two runs and 10 hits in 6 1-3 innings. He walked two and struck out three.
Davis, who is hitting .083 (2-for-24), also singled in a run as he won for only the third time in 11 starts.
“I feel like I’m being more effective in the strike zone, especially early in the count,” Davis said.
Brian Roberts homered and had four hits for the Orioles. Roberts went 7-for-13 with five RBIs, two triples and two homers in the three-game series.
Melvin Mora hit his 11th homer, a solo shot to the home bullpen in left field in the eighth.
The Orioles, last in the AL East, split a six-game trip to San Diego and Arizona. They are 3-3 since firing manager Sam Perlozzo on Monday, and they played all three games in Arizona without star shortstop Miguel Tejada, who is on the disabled list with a wrist injury.
“You lose your best player and your manager, but other than that we still played pretty well,” Roberts said. “I know we certainly would have liked to have won one of the last two, but that’s just the way it goes.”
The Orioles didn’t quit Sunday. They loaded the bases against Brandon Lyon with one out in the ninth but couldn’t score.
Interim manager Dave Trembley said his team’s overall play was “a lot more encouraging, and that’s what we’re looking for.”
But Trembley warned against players being satisfied with a good effort.
“We’re not playing intramurals here,” Trembley said. “This is major league baseball. You’re playing to win. You’re not playing to feel good about yourself.”
Arizona jumped on Baltimore starter Steve Trachsel (5-6). With one out in the first, Drew hit a 1-2 delivery into the visitors’ bullpen down the right-field line for his fourth homer.
Arizona made it 5-0 in the fourth on RBI singles by Davis and Byrnes, and a sacrifice fly by Orlando Hudson. Byrnes singled home another run in the fifth, and Mark Reynolds hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Trachsel allowed five runs and seven hits in four innings. He walked four and struck out three. Eleven of the 23 batters he faced reached base.
“They earned what they got,” Trachsel said. “They beat me. I felt like I made a lot of good pitches. Location was good. I just came up a little short.”
Davis, who last week snapped an 0-for-51 slump at the plate, has a two-game hitting streak. He singled through a drawn-in infield. … Roberts went 14-for-26 with six extra-base hits on the Orioles’ six-game trip.