Gonzalez, Snyder lead Diamondbacks past Dodgers 6-1 in series finale

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LOS ANGELES (AP)—The Arizona Diamondbacks can breathe a little easier following what outfielder Eric Byrnes called their biggest win of the season.

Edgar Gonzalez won his seventh straight decision, Chris Snyder hit a three-run homer and the Diamondbacks beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-1 Sunday to salvage the finale of a three-game series.

“This was as close to a must-win game as we’ve had all year,” Byrnes said. “That’s it. Was it a must-win? No. But this was huge—a really big win for us. Every game from here on out is this way until we clinch.”

The NL West leaders remained two games ahead of second-place San Diego and extended their lead to 4 1/2 games over Los Angeles. The Padres lead the wild-card race by 1 1/2 games over the Philadelphia Phillies and 2 1/2 over the Dodgers with two weeks left in the season.

“Because we lost the first two, it was a significant game,” Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said. “I like the fact that we’re going back home. We play well at home.”

The Diamondbacks, 46-29 at Chase Field, play their final six home games of the season this week—three against the Giants and three against the Dodgers. Then, they finish with three at Pittsburgh and another three at Colorado.

Gonzalez (8-2), making just his second start since June 26, was lifted for a pinch hitter after giving up one run and six hits in five innings. Four Diamondbacks relievers blanked the Dodgers after that.

“He pitched great—he gave us five innings,” Melvin said. “That’s all we could ask. You look at his record, it’s pretty indicative of how he’s pitched for us. He’s been an invaluable piece.”

Snyder’s homer in the second was the only hit allowed by Esteban Loaiza (1-2), who walked a career-high seven in 4 2-3 innings. Mark Reynolds and Stephen Drew walked to start the inning and one out later, Snyder hit a liner that glanced off the top of the fence in left-center and into the pavilion for his 13th homer.

“I thought I hit it in the gap,” Snyder said, adding he didn’t think the ball was going to clear the fence.

Neither did Loaiza, who said the home run came “on a perfect pitch—a cutter low and away.”

The 35-year-old Loaiza said he’s never walked seven batters in a game at any level.

“I always throw strikes. That’s the most important thing for me,” said Loaiza, a winner of 125 big league games. “They were just waiting for a pitch to hit. One hit—the home run. That’s baseball.”

Rafael Furcal hit Gonzalez’s second pitch of the fourth inning for his sixth homer, and that turned out to be the Dodgers’ only run.

“Everything was right there—just one mistake,” Gonzalez said. “The pitch to Furcal was down the middle.”

The Dodgers had a chance for more later in that inning when James Loney and Jeff Kent hit one-out singles, but Luis Gonzalez lined out to center and catcher Snyder picked off Kent at first base with Andy LaRoche at the plate.

“It was (a big play), no question,” Melvin said. “It gets us out of the inning there. To get a cheap out is always good.”

Snyder opened the sixth with a single off Rudy Seanez for Arizona’s second hit, went to third on Augie Ojeda’s hit-and-run single and scored on a single by pinch-hitter Chad Tracy, playing for the first time in more than a month. He was activated from the disabled list earlier in the day.

Drew hit a two-run single off Jonathan Broxton in the ninth to complete the scoring.

The Dodgers won two of three from the Diamondbacks and Padres on their six-game homestand, but begin a seven-game road trip in a tough situation.

“We played good in two series at home, but there comes a point where that’s not good enough,” Dodgers manager Grady Little said.

LaRoche singled and Andre Ethier walked to put the tying runs on base with nobody out in the fifth, but Mike Lieberthal grounded into a double play and pinch-hitter Nomar Garciaparra popped to first.

That was the final Los Angeles threat until the ninth, when Kent and pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney singled before Ethier lined out to right to end the game.


Tracy was activated before the game. Tracy, hitting .264 with seven homers and 35 RBIs in 76 games, had been on the disabled list since Aug. 15 because of tendinitis in his right knee. … Bruce Froemming, umpiring his final game at Dodger Stadium, was honored in a pregame ceremony. Froemming, the longest-tenured umpire in big league history, is retiring after 37 years on the job. … Little said RHP Chad Billingsley and LHP David Wells will start in Tuesday’s doubleheader at Colorado, and tentative plans call for the 44-year-old Wells to start on three days’ rest Saturday at Arizona. Colorado trails San Diego by 4 1/2 games in the wild-card race. … Los Angeles C Russell Martin wasn’t in the starting lineup for only the 15th time in 149 games.

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