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Arizona 2, Los Angeles 0

9/12/2003

PHOENIX (AP) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers probably thought they got
a break when Curt Schilling missed his scheduled start with a sore
neck.

Not so.

Chris Capuano stepped in and held the Dodgers scoreless on three
hits through seven innings in a 2-0 victory for the Arizona
Diamondbacks on Thursday night.

"Those are the games that are the most fun for me, when it's
zero-zero or 1-1 in the late innings," the 25-year-old left-hander
said. "It was just a real joy to be a part of a battle like
that."

Capuano (2-3) struck out four, walked none and hit a batter in
his fourth major league start and first since he gave up five runs
on nine hits in 3 2-3 innings at San Diego on Sept. 2.

"To be quite honest with you, we didn't know what to expect
tonight," Arizona manager Bob Brenly said. "But I thought he was
spectacular -- real good command of all his pitches, real good mound
presence. He did what he had to do, put zeros up there."

The Dodgers had never faced Capuano, who spent most of the
season in the Pacific Coast League.

"It's the same thing that happened Tuesday night when our guy
Edwin Jackson threw a great game and they had never seen him," the
Dodgers' Shawn Green said.

Jose Valverde allowed one hit in the eighth, and Matt Mantei
pitched a perfect ninth for his 23rd save as Los Angeles was held
to just four hits.

The loss followed an even tougher defeat Wednesday night, when
the Dodgers blew a 4-0 lead and lost 5-4.

Los Angeles split the four-game series and fell 3{ games behind
idle Florida in the NL Wild-card race with 17 to play. Arizona is
6{ out with 15 to go.

The Dodgers begin a nine-game home stand Friday night against
San Diego.

"We came out here and won five out of seven," Los Angeles
manager Jim Tracy said. "Three games out in the loss column and a
nine-game home stand coming up. We just have to go home and play
good ball against the Padres, which is something that we haven't
done a very good job of so far this year."

The game was a scoreless until third baseman Adrian Beltre's
throwing error set up two unearned runs against Odalis Perez in the
seventh.

Perez (12-11) allowed five hits, struck out six and walked
three, including two intentionally. The Dodgers left-hander is 6-2
in his last eight starts.

Brenly sent three consecutive pinch-hitters to the plate in the
seventh with good results. Perez intentionally walked Felix Jose to
load the bases with one out, then Matt Kata drove in a run with a
sacrifice fly, and Carlos Baerga singled in the second run.

Raul Mondesi led off the seventh for Arizona with a hard
grounder to third. The ball glanced off Beltre's glove, then he
threw wildly to first for an error and Mondesi wound up on second
with no outs.

But when Shea Hillenbrand hit a bouncer to shortstop Cesar
Izturis, Mondesi tried to take third and was thrown out. Danny
Bautista followed with his second double, this one over the
outstretched glove of Shawn Green in right, to put runners on
second and third with one out.

Three outstanding defensive plays helped keep it scoreless
through 6{ innings.

After Jolbert Cabrera's one-out double, third baseman
Hillenbrand made a leaping snag of Alex Cora's line drive.

"I attribute that to my high school soccer days playing
goalie," Hillenbrand said. "Who knows? You're in position to make
the play and you just react to it. I was lucky to come up with it
because if the ball went through, Cabrera would have scored."

Bautista, playing left field in place of Luis Gonzalez, made a
leaping catch at the top of the wall on a shot by Beltre leading
off the seventh.

Steve Finley led off the Arizona third with a double off the
right-field fence. The ball careened past Green but was barehanded
by center fielder Cabrera. Finley overran second, and Cabrera fired
the ball to second baseman Cora, who tagged the runner as he tried
to get back to the bag.

Game notes
RHP Hideo Nomo will return to the Dodgers' rotation Sunday
against San Diego. Nomo skipped his scheduled start Tuesday because
of soreness in his shoulder but felt fine after a bullpen session
Thursday. ... The teams split their season series 8-8. ... Capuano
graduated from Duke in 1999, postponing joining the Diamondbacks
organization until he completed his studies.