Davis dazzles, Snyder homers in 1-0 win to give D’Backs 2-game lead over Dodgers in NL West

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LOS ANGELES (AP)—Arizona catcher Chris Snyder was in synch with batterymate Doug Davis on all of his pitches. He also was in perfect synch with one of Chad Billingsley’s offerings.

Davis allowed three hits over eight innings and Snyder homered in the eighth, leading the Diamondbacks to a 1-0 victory over Los Angeles and extending their lead over the Dodgers to two games in the NL West.

“Chris was the man tonight,” Davis said. “He gave us all we needed. Not only did he hit the big home run, but he also called a great game behind the plate.”

The Barry Bonds traveling circus, which consumed everyone’s attention at Chavez Ravine over the previous three nights with the San Francisco Giants in town, was replaced by a real pennant race and an old-fashioned pitcher’s duel.

Davis (8-10) struck out five, walked one and allowed only one runner past first base. He has allowed only one unearned run over 30 career innings against the Dodgers.

“There weren’t a lot of pressure situations, so it might have looked a little easier than it was,” Davis said. “I had a game plan going out there, and I was just executing my pitches and throwing them for strikes. I threw a lot of junk up there and tried to keep it down in the zone so I’d get them off balance and they’d ground out.”

After the Dodgers went out in order in the seventh, stadium organist Nancy Bea Hefley serenaded the crowd of 51,582 to a few choruses of “I’ve Got Plenty of Nothing.” Snyder then drove Billingsley’s second pitch of the eighth just inside the left field pole for his ninth homer.

“In that situation, he’s not going to walk me and put the leadoff guy on. He’s got to come right after me,” Snyder said. “The ball was up and out over the plate, and I knew I got it good. I saw it hooking at the last minute, but I kept it straight long enough. That was one of the few mistakes he made, and it worked out well for us.”

Davis, who had only 82 pitches in the bank to that point, was allowed to stay in the game instead of being lifted for a pinch-hitter. He threw one more scoreless inning before Jose Valverde pitched a perfect ninth for his 32nd save in 37 chances.

“We just didn’t put any runs up there, but it had nothing to do with being impatient. We were definitely patient,” Nomar Garciaparra said after the Dodgers were shut out for the seventh time. “Davis had good command and was mixing up his pitches. He worked both sides of the plate with his breaking ball, his fastball and his cutter.”

Despite being next-to-last in the NL in batting average and hits, and third from the bottom in runs and on-base percentage when the day began, the Diamondbacks are 61-50—five games ahead of last season’s pace after 111 games.

“I think it’s surprised everybody. But if you look at the way they’ve played, they’ve won a lot of games on late heroics—walkoffs and things like that,” said the Dodgers’ Luis Gonzalez, who spent the previous eight seasons with the Diamondbacks and had a game-winning RBI single for them in the 2001 World Series clincher.

“They don’t wow you with their offensive numbers, but they’ve been able to get big hits when they’ve needed them late in games—and their pitchers have been able to keep them in games.”

Billingsley (7-2) lost his second straight start, allowing five hits and two walks over 7 2-3 innings and striking out eight. The Diamondbacks, who got only three hits against Jake Peavy and two relievers in Thursday night’s 11-0 loss at San Diego, did not get a runner past first base until Snyder’s home run.

Juan Pierre singled in the first inning for the Dodgers, stole second and advanced to third with two out when Davis’ high pickoff throw sailed into center field off the glove of second baseman Orlando Hudson. But Pierre was stranded when Olmedo Saenz—starting in the cleanup spot for the first time since last Aug. 6—flied out to right field.

Second baseman Jeff Kent, the Dodgers’ regular cleanup hitter, sat out his fourth straight game because of a strained left hamstring.

Dodgers catcher Russell Martin, already playing on a sore leg, grounded into a force play in the sixth and then was caught off the base twice by Davis. The first time, he was able to scamper around first baseman Conor Jackson’s attempted tag and dive back to the bag. But the next time Davis went into the stretch and threw over, Martin was tagged out in a rundown by shortstop Stephen Drew.


According to Dodgers team spokesman Josh Rawitch, 60 daily press credentials were distributed for the series opener with the Diamondbacks—as opposed to 300 for each of the three games against the Giants. … Saenz, making his 10th start this season and sixth at first base, was 0-for-3 and has only five hits in his last 43 at-bats since May 26. He is 1-for-12 lifetime against Davis.

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