Gonzalez Helps Diamondbacks Avert Sweep

Sunday, September 16th 2007, 6:45 pm
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The Arizona Diamondbacks can breathe a little easier. 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.

After his team lost its second straight to the Dodgers a day earlier, Arizona outfielder Eric Byrnes said the Diamondbacks were as close to being in a must-win situation as they've been all season.

The NL West leaders responded. With the win, they 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.

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 did the job after that.

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.

Rafael Furcal hit Gonzalez's second pitch of the fourth for his sixth homer, cutting Arizona's lead to 3-1. James Loney and Jeff Kent hit one-out singles before Luis Gonzalez lined out to center and catcher Snyder picked Kent off first base.

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.

Stephen Drew hit a two-run single off Jonathan Broxton in the ninth to make it 6-1.

Andy LaRoche singled and Andre Ethier walked to start the Dodgers fifth, but Mike Lieberthal grounded into a double play and pinch-hitter Nomar Garciaparra popped to first.

Edgar Gonzalez faced the minimum nine batters in the first three innings despite allowing two hits. Juan Pierre hit a one-out single in the first, but was thrown out trying to steal. Ethier singled to start the third, but one out later Loaiza bunted into a double play.

Notes: 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. ... Dodgers manager Grady 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. ... 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. ... Los Angeles C Russell Martin wasn't in the starting lineup for only the 15th time in 149 games.