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Ventura ties McCovey for third on all-time list

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Robin Ventura's latest grand slam earned him
a gift from longtime teammate Wilson Alvarez.

Ventura hit his 18th career grand slam to tie Willie McCovey for
third place on the career list, Hideo Nomo won for the first time
in 11 decisions and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Arizona
Diamondbacks 8-2 Tuesday night.

"I was hoping that he hit it out," said Alvarez, who also was
Ventura's teammate with the Chicago White Sox for seven seasons
before they reunited in Los Angeles. "A few days ago I said to him
that if he hit another one before we leave this year, I'll give him
a present. And now I owe a present to him and his wife."

Manager Jim Tracy sent Ventura up to bat for Brent Mayne and got
the desired results. The 16-year veteran extended the Dodgers' lead
to 8-2 in the seventh by driving Chad Durbin's 1-0 pitch into the
right-field pavilion for his fifth homer of the season and second
grand slam. Ventura is a .344 career hitter with the bases full and
has 213 RBI in those situations.

"Obviously, you have to be in the right situation and you have
to get lucky, too," Ventura said. "The pitchers don't necessarily
want to walk you, so their pitches come a little closer to the
plate. I think more mistakes are made with the bases loaded than
with a base open."

The only players who have homered more than Ventura with
the bases loaded are Hall of Famers Lou Gehrig (23) and Eddie
Murray (19).

"It doesn't make sense, when you name the people who have done
that and mention me in the same sentence. So I feel honored just to
be in that company," Ventura said. "I can't explain it, so I'm
not going to try."

Ventura's other grand slam this season came on Aug. 29 at Shea
Stadium against Kris Benson. He has six career pinch-hit home runs
and three this season.

"Those are harder because you get more opportunities if you're
playing all the time, so you just try to take advantage of what's
there and the situation you're in," Ventura said. "Tonight, Trace
put me in a situation with one out, and you hit a little
differently than you do with two out, as far as trying to lift the
ball."

Coming off a 6-7 road trip that ended with three straight losses
at St. Louis, the Dodgers moved 4½ games ahead of San Francisco,
which lost to Colorado. Los Angeles is 35-19 against division
opponents, with 22 of their remaining 25 games against the West.

Nomo (4-11) allowed two runs and five hits over six-plus innings
and struck out six in his second start off the disabled list,
sending the Diamondbacks to their fifth straight loss and 14th in
16 meetings with the Dodgers this season. The right-hander missed
two months with inflammation in his rotator cuff before losing 3-1
at Arizona last Wednesday. Nomo's last win came on April 21 at
Colorado.

"He was hurt early in the season, and we knew that," teammate
Adrian Beltre said. "He wasn't throwing his fastball like he
normally does. But we're going to need Nomo down the stretch,
there's no doubt about that. Hopefully, he can bounce back and be
the Nomo that we know. If we can get him on the right track, we're
going to be even better."

The loss put the Diamondbacks a club-record 54 games under .500
(42-96). Arizona's next defeat will tie the club record for losses,
set in 1998, when the Diamondbacks finished their inaugural season
65-97.

Brandon Webb (6-15) allowed four runs, six hits and three walks
in 4 1/3 innings and had five strikeouts. The right-hander equaled
the franchise record for losses, set by Willie Blair in 1998.

"His numbers don't indicate how great he's pitched all year,
but he won't blame anyone but himself," Arizona reliever Mike
Fetters said.

The Dodgers took a 4-2 lead with a pair of fifth-inning runs
after the Diamondbacks tied the score with two in the top half.

Webb, who leads the majors with 104 walks, walked Steve Finley
and Milton Bradley to open the Dodgers' fifth. The right-hander
struck out Beltre, but Shawn Green regained the lead for the
Dodgers with a hit-and-run single through the right side. Bradley
scored on a grounder by Jayson Werth, beating the throw to the
plate from third baseman Chad Tracy.

Game notes
A moment of silence was observed in memory of former
Dodgers OF Willie Crawford, on what would have been his 58th
birthday. Crawford, a member of the 1965 World Series championship
team, died Friday of kidney disease. ... Alex Cintron booted
Werth's seventh-inning grounder, extending Arizona's error streak
to eight games. They have committed 120, tying them with the New
York Mets for the most in the majors. ... Arizona activated RHP
Scott Service and C Robby Hammock, leaving the Diamondbacks with 11
players still on the DL.