Diamondbacks 7, Marlins 4
PHOENIX (AP)—The Arizona Diamondbacks managed just five hits Thursday night, and that was plenty. The final one was especially nice.
Eric Byrnes, having by far the best season of his career, hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning to give the Diamondbacks a 7-4 victory over Florida and a four-game sweep of the Marlins.
The Diamondbacks won their sixth in a row to climb into second place in the NL West, 1 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“I really believe this is a playoff team,” Byrnes said. “Every day there’s more and more guys in here that are starting to believe that.”
Tony Pena (5-2) pitched two hitless innings as the Diamondbacks improved to 16-5 against the NL East. Arizona’s winning streak follows a 4-13 stretch.
“I think those guys are taking the field believing we’re going to win every night,” Byrnes said, “and when you have that feeling, it’s a pretty good atmosphere. Not too long ago, a week ago, we weren’t playing good baseball.”
Miguel Montero opened the Arizona ninth with a single up the middle off Armando Benitez (2-6). Montero went to second on Scott Hairston’s pinch-hit sacrifice bunt, then took third on a wild pitch. After Orlando Hudson struck out, Byrnes hit an 0-2 pitch over the fence in left.
The odd game featured five hit batters.
“I was going to look for a fastball and try to battle and put something in play,” Byrnes said, “and I just ran into it.”
Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez said he didn’t go with an intentional walk— and get to Mark Reynolds—because Byrnes was 0-for-5 against Benitez with two strikeouts.
“We got him right where we wanted him,” Marlins catcher Matt Treanor said. “I knew we had a couple of pitches we could work with and we could walk him if we had to, unintentionally I guess. We didn’t make the pitch and the game was over. It just says something for their ball club. That’s just the way they’re playing right now.”
It was the third four-game sweep for Arizona this season. Florida hadn’t lost a four-game set since May of last year.
“The only thing I’m going to take out of this is we’re leaving,” Gonzalez said. “We can’t leave soon enough. They may ask us to play again tomorrow, so we’re going to get out as fast as we can.”
Three of Arizona’s five hits were homers.
Florida scored a run in the first and another in the second to go up 2-0, but Arizona tied it in the third on Owings’ 392-foot homer to left, his first big-league home run.
Things fell apart for the rookie right-hander in the fourth. Jeremy Hermida, Todd Linden and Treanor singled to load the bases. Owings walked pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim on a 3-2 pitch to bring in one run, then hit Alfredo Amezaga on a 1-2 count for another, and it was 4-2.
That was it for Owings—and Florida’s offense.
“That’s the key to the game,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. “It’s lost in the shuffle as you go forward—Burnsy’s walk-off obviously has something to do with the win. But if Nip doesn’t come in and do what he did that inning, we’re not in this position.”
Owings went three innings plus five batters, allowing four runs on four hits. He struck out two, walked and hit two batters. Owings is 0-4 in his last seven starts.
The game settled from there. Kim allowed only one hit, Owens’ homer, but walked six and hit a batter. He was taken out after walking Chad Tracy to lead off the sixth.
Tracy was back in the Arizona starting lineup at third base after missing five games with a sore right knee. … The Diamondbacks’ Stephen Drew made it to first on what could have been a double play in the sixth inning, but was called out by umpire Bill Miller for trying to advance, even though he never left foul territory. … 1B Tony Clark and the LF Byrnes both made diving catches for Arizona.