The Diamondbacks have 12 regular-season games left that ultimately
will determine their postseason fate and whether they can maintain their
grip on first place in the National League West Division.
But the feeling around the team was that a loss on Sunday to the Los Angeles Dodgers -- which would have meant an L.A. sweep -- would have
been disastrous and perhaps would have even begun a complete unraveling
of the club and its hopes down the stretch.
After their 6-1 victory over the Dodgers, the Diamondbacks were glad
they didn't have to discuss it, but the game was about as "must-win"
"I don't think much about how we're positioned," manager Bob Melvin
said. "We've got six at home -- we've played well at home -- then we go
on the road for six. We'll take them all individually.
"Obviously, when you get down to a number where there's light at the
end of the tunnel, everybody starts doing math and so forth. It's easy
to do. But our focus is going to continue to be game-to-game."
Still, it would have been a lot tougher to feel that way after a
"We needed that win," said catcher Chris Snyder, who hit a three-run
homer in Sunday's victory. "Especially at this time. You've got to
avoid the sweep at all costs. We did that today. It was big."
Eric Byrnes, who had called Sunday's game as close to a must-win
situation as the Diamondbacks have faced all season, was reluctant to call
it that after the victory.
"Was it a must-win? No," he said. "We could have lost this game and
still been in first place. But to be able to take this from the
Dodgers, and finish the road trip .500 and go back home -- this was a really
big win for us."
DIAMONDBACKS 6, DODGERS 1: Arizona salvaged the finale of its
three-game series at Dodger Stadium, getting a three-run home run by catcher
Chris Snyder and a strong outing by its newest No. 5 pitcher, Edgar Gonzalez, to maintain a two-game lead over the Padres atop the National
"This was as close to a must-win game as we've had all year,"
Diamondbacks left fielder Eric Byrnes said.
The Diamondbacks lost the first two games of the series and now
return to Chase Field for their final six home games of the regular season,
against the Giants and Dodgers.
--RHP Edgar Gonzalez, who was making his first start since late
June, won his seventh straight decision in allowing one earned run over
five innings. He improved to 8-2 on the year.
"He pitched great," manager Bob Melvin said. "That's all we could
ask for. You look at his record; it's pretty indicative of how he's
pitched for us. He's been an invaluable piece."
--3B Chad Tracy was activated from the disabled list, and although
he still is having problems with his sore right knee and likely will be
used strictly as a pinch hitter for now. He collected a pinch-hit RBI
on Sunday against the Dodgers with a sixth-inning single.
--Manager Bob Melvin wouldn't say how Thursday's off-day would
affect the starting pitching rotation, although RHP Brandon Webb could come
back on four days' rest to face the Dodgers' on Friday.
"We'll just see how we get through the next three leading to it,"
Melvin said of a three-game set at home against San Francisco that begins
on Monday. Webb is to start the opener and will be looking for a
career-high 17th win.
--RHP Juan Cruz, who has pitched well in relief, ranks third in the
majors with a 12.27 strikeouts per nine innings average, having fanned
75 batters in 55 innings.
--The Diamondbacks were hitting .248 through 149 games, last in the
--The Diamondbacks had hit 12 pinch-hit home runs through the weekend,
the most of any club in the majors.
BY THE NUMBERS: 4 -- Earned runs allowed by LHP Doug Davis against
the Dodgers on Sept. 14 after he had gone 3-0 against them in his four
previous career starts, allowing no earned runs over 30 innings pitched.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I can't say I expected 30 (home runs); I didn't.
Especially your first major league season. The last three years in the
minors I had (20) home runs a year, but the big leagues are a different
level. I would have been happy if I had 10, honestly." -- Rookie center
fielder Chris Young.
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