Diamondbacks 9, Giants 6

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Steve Finley is back in an accustomed role, and he’s giving the Arizona Diamondbacks a much-needed boost as they desperately cling to hopes of capturing the NL wild-card spot.

Finley, back in the leadoff spot after a two-year absence, had four hits for the second straight game to help the Diamondbacks to a 9-6 win Sunday over the San Francisco Giants.

Finley’s two-run double tied the game and pinch-hitter Danny Bautista followed with a two-run single to highlight a five-run eighth inning.

Since moving back to the leadoff spot on Thursday for the first time since May 2001, Finley has hit .474 in four games.

“He’s just desert-hot right now. He’s hitting fastballs, hitting changeups, finding spots,” said Arizona manager Bob Brenly. “He can be as hot as any hitter on the planet.”

Brenly said he put Finley back into the leadoff spot “by default” because he needed a spark at the top of the lineup. The Diamondbacks have tried six others in that spot this season.

“I did it for my first six years, so it’s nothing new. I know how to do it, and I enjoy it,” Finley said.

With Barry Bonds in a six-game homer drought, the Giants resorted to a bunch of shorter hits—10 singles, including an RBI bunt single, and a double—to take a 6-4 lead into the eighth.

Bonds has not homered since being hospitalized for exhaustion and an irregular heartbeat Aug. 31 in Phoenix. He’s had few chances—in the three-game series against Arizona, he walked eight times.

But Giants reliever Joe Nathan (9-4) walked the bases loaded with two outs in the eighth, and Finley doubled to right off Chad Zerbe. Bautista then singled off Matt Herges, and Luis Gonzalez followed with an RBI single.

“That’s a bad inning and we’re not like that, we haven’t been like that for a long time,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said. “They got some big hits, too, you’ve got to give them credit. Usually with the bags empty and two out, you don’t see a rally like that.”

The winner was Edgar Gonzalez (2-1), who pitched one inning. John Patterson pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth for his first save.

Nathan said he had no explanation for the three straight walks that began the Arizona rally.

“I just couldn’t find it,” he said. “I can’t be going in there with a two-run lead and relax. I don’t feel I did my job.”

Ray Durham had a two-run single and Edgardo Alfonzo added a two-run double on a ball that sneaked just inside third base as the Giants scored five in the fourth to chase Arizona starter Elmer Dessens.

Yorvit Torrealba, a catcher whose bunt single knocked in the Giants’ first run in the second inning, also had an RBI single in the fourth.

Giants starter Sidney Ponson allowed four runs on eight hits, including a homer and two triples, in six-plus innings. He has been battling the flu.

Raul Mondesi hit his second homer in two days, giving the Diamondbacks a 2-0 lead in the first. His homer hit the pole in left field. Alex Cintron added anRBI triple in the fourth and Matt Kata had an RBI triple in the fifth.


Bonds walked three times Sunday. He walked three times Saturday (two intentional) and twice on Friday (one intentional). … 2B Durham left the game after striking out in the fifth. The Giants said he tweaked his right hamstring. … Finley has had at least four hits in a game four times this season and 29 times in his career. … Shea Hillenbrand went hitless in four at-bats Sunday, and now is in a 5-for-38 rut. … Mark Grace, 39, came into the game as a pinch-runner in the eighth for Arizona. He said it’s the first time he can remember pinch-running. … The Giants won the season series 14-5against Arizona, including an 7-2 record at Pacific Bell Park.

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