Series Wrap Up: Phils Wash Away D'Backs

Entering a three-game weekend series with the Philadelphia Phillies, the Arizona Diamondbacks were in a secure second in their division, behind the San Diego Padres.  The Padres lost two of three to the Chicago Cubs, giving the D'Backs plenty of opportunity to gain some ground.  But their chances- along with all three games- were washed away with the rain.

Friday night's game was postponed due to rain, causing Arizona and Philadelphia to square off in a double-header Saturday.  The Phillies won both games, and Sunday proved to be no better for the Snakes, in part due to a questionable call that went in favor of the Phillies.

In Saturday's first game, Arizona starter Javier Vazquez pitched only four innings and watched his ERA soar to 4.38 after giving up eight runs, all earned, on ten hits (including two home runs) while striking out only two.  New D'Backs reliever Matt Herges, most recently with the San Francisco Giants, managed to hold down the fort for two innings, but the Phillies later scored two more runs, winning 10-6.

Later that day, Russ Ortiz went seven innings for the D'Backs, giving up four runs on four hits.  And he got some assistance in the fifth inning, with back-to-back homers by Alex Cintron and Luis Gonzalez, good enough to put Arizona ahead, 3-1.  But they squandered their lead in the sixth inning, when the Phillies piled on three runs, two of which came from a home run by by Placido Polanco.  Polanco homered again in the eighth inning, and the Phillies won 5-3.

The D'Backs got to a rocky start on Sunday when Brad Halsey allowed four runs in the second inning, including a troublesome fly ball by Mike Lieberthal that led to three runs.  The ball appeared to hit the top of outfield fence before bouncing back into play.  Originally deemed a double, it was changed to a three-run homer.  The Phillies then added two more runs in the third, and the D'Backs found themselves down 6-0 after three innings.

Arizona staged a comeback that included a three-run rally in the eighth.  Gonzalez kicked it off with a solo home run, the 300th of his career, and RBI singles by Cintron and Kelly Stinnett brought the score to 6-5.  The Phillies tagged on another run in the eighth, but Arizona tried to play catch up in the ninth.  Tony Clark singled, scoring Royce Clayton to make it 7-6 Philadelphia and sending Gonzalez to third as the D'Backs tying run with one out.  But the game ended when Jose Cruz Jr. struck out swinging, followed by a groundout by Shawn Green.

The Diamondbacks return home for more interleague play, with the Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals each popping in for a three-game stay at Bank One Ballpark.  Arizona will then strike out on the road to play three games each against the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians.  Then they move on to San Francisco for four games with the Giants before returning home to conclude interleague play in the regular season with three games against the Detroit Tigers.  The Snakes are still coiled up in second place with a 30-27 record, four games behind the Padres and only 0.5 games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers

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