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Moeller homers twice as D-Backs get home edge

9/30/2002

PHOENIX (AP) -- Despite injuries to Luis Gonzalez, Craig Counsell
and others, the Arizona Diamondbacks keep finding players to step
up at key times.

Chad Moeller homered twice and drove in six runs as the
Diamondbacks clinched home-field advantage for the first round of
the playoffs with an 11-8 victory over the Colorado Rockies on
Sunday.

''That's the way this team has been the two years I've been
here,'' first baseman Mark Grace said. ''Every time we've had
must-win games, we go out there and we win them, and I'm real glad
we don't have to get on a plane.''

Arizona will open the postseason Tuesday night against National League Central champion St. Louis at Bank One Ballpark.

If the Diamondbacks had lost this game, the best-of-five series
would have started at St. Louis.

The locker room had a cluttered look as players stepped around
and over suitcases and baggage they won't need until Friday.

''Home-field advantage is always big,'' Moeller said. ''No. 1,
you get that last at-bat. That's the biggest thing -- you get that
one last chance. On the road, you don't have that.''

Arizona took an 11-3 lead into the eighth inning and held off
the Rockies.

Moeller went 4-for-4 and Junior Spivey and Felix Jose also
homered for the defending World Series champions. The Diamondbacks
won their final four games of the season to win the West and finish
with a one-game edge over the Cardinals -- had the teams ended with
the same record, St. Louis held the tiebreaker.

The Diamondbacks were batting in the first inning when St.
Louis' 4-0 victory over Milwaukee was posted on the scoreboard.
Arizona responded by scoring three quick runs.

Curt Schilling, who will start Game 2 for Arizona on Thursday
after losing to the Cardinals last Wednesday, pitched the eighth
inning.

Making his first relief appearance since May 13, 1992, Schilling
gave up a three-run homer to Brent Butler that pulled Colorado to
11-6.

''It was meaningless,'' manager Bob Brenly said about the ace's
uneven performance. ''Other than the fact he took three earned runs
he wasn't counting on. It was his day to work on the side anyway.''

Butler was surprised by his homer.

''I was looking for something hard to hit, and I was lucky,''
Butler said. ''No doubt it was like my second hit in 20 at-bats off
of him, so I guess I was due for one off him. But he's a great
pitcher.''

After the Rockies scored twice in the ninth, Byung-Hyun Kim got
two outs for his 36th save.

''I'd like to believe we just ran out of innings, but I don't
think that's the case,'' Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. ''We
were gassed.''

John Patterson (2-0) outpitched fellow rookie Denny Stark,
allowing two runs on six hits in five innings. Patterson struck out
eight and walked none.

Patterson, however, also got thrown out at first base on what
looked like a hit in the second. Right fielder Gabe Kapler charged
the ball, grabbed it on a couple of hops and made a strong throw.

Stark (11-4) lost for the first time in nine starts.

Juan Pierre hit his first homer in 592 at-bats since Oct. 7 -- Colorado's final game of the 2001 season -- off Patterson in the
second.

Arizona went ahead 8-2 by scoring five runs in three innings.

Mark Little had a leadoff single in the fourth before Moeller
came up and drove a pitch into the right-field seats. Spivey
homered later in the inning.

In the fifth, Jose connected off reliever Randy Flores. Moeller,
who had gone 107 at-bats without a homer since Sept. 27, 2001, led
off the sixth with an opposite-field shot off Flores.

Moeller hit a two-run double against Todd Jones in the seventh
and scored on Tony Womack's single.

''I feel great,'' Moeller said about his career day. ''But there
were so many guys that were so important. Patterson threw a great
game for us, and everybody came through when we needed them.''

Game notes
Pierre stole his 47th base in the fifth, second most in the
majors. He also was 2-for-4, batting .422 (38-for-90) in September.
... Arizona's Matt Williams has driven in 14 runs in his last 11
games. ... Little was hit for the fourth time in four games when
Stark plunked him in the first inning.