PHOENIX (AP) -- It was a night of firsts for Arizona's Claudio
He threw six strong innings for his first home victory of the
season and added his first hit, an RBI single in a three-run second
inning, as the Diamondbacks beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 on
Vargas allowed two runs -- one earned -- seven hits and a walk for
his second straight win and his first in three starts this season
at Chase Field.
"He started a little rugged but his breaking ball got better
and his changeup got better," Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin
Vargas drove in the winning run when blooped a fastball from
Brad Penny into short right field to cap the Diamondbacks'
"I was looking for a fastball," Vargas said. "I knew he
didn't want to throw me a curve because the bases were loaded."
Six consecutive Arizona hitters reached base against Penny (2-1)
in the second before the right-hander was able to record an out.
Luis Gonzalez singled and scored on Conor Jackson's double to
cut the lead 2-1. Shawn Green doubled to tie the game 2-2 and then
only advanced to third when he had to hold up as Johnny Estrada's
fly ball to right-center dropped for a double. Orlando Hudson
walked and Vargas followed with the bloop single, scoring Green for
a 3-2 lead.
Vargas also helped his cause with a nifty defensive play after
pitching into trouble in the sixth.
The Dodgers loaded the bases in the sixth on one-out singles by
Jeff Kent and Nomar Garciaparra and a walk to Bill Mueller. But
Vargas snared Sandy Alomar Jr.'s sharp one-hopper just off the
pitching rubber and threw home for an inning-ending double play.
"The pitching coach came out and I'm sure his words to that
pitcher were to try and get a ground ball back to you," Dodgers
manager Grady Little said. "I guarantee that's what he told him
before he walked away and that's one of those times it happened."
Green went 2-for-4 with the RBI double for the Diamondbacks, who
won for the fifth time in seven games. Jose Valverde, Arizona's
fourth pitcher, worked the ninth for his sixth save.
The Dodgers scored in each of the first two innings to take a
2-0 lead. Green dropped Kenny Lofton's fly ball in the right field
corner, allowing the Dodgers' center fielder to reach third base,
and Lofton scored on an RBI grounder by J.D. Drew.
Green later made up for the fielding error, his second of the
season, by taking a two-run homer away from Drew on a leaping catch
to end the third inning.
"I didn't think he got all of it," Green said. "It sounded
crisp and I knew it would be close. I sensed the fence was there,
timed my jump and pulled it back."
Los Angeles made it 2-0 on a leadoff double by Garciaparra and
Alomar's run-scoring single with one out.
Penny allowed three runs and eight hits in losing to the
Diamondbacks, the team that drafted him in 1996, for the first time
in five decisions.
"I just didn't locate pitches," Penny said. "All night I
wasn't locating pitches. It's days like that you try to get through
Vargas has allowed only one earned run in his last two
starts, a span of 13 innings. He has walked one batter or less in
four of his five starts. ... The Dodgers on Monday recalled RHP
Jonathan Broxton from Triple-A Las Vegas and optioned RHP Lance
Carter to Las Vegas. Broxton was 1-0 with five saves and was not
scored upon in 11 1/3 innings for the 51s. He struck out 18 and
walked three. Carter was 0-1 with a 7.45 ERA for the Dodgers. ...
Penny reached the 1,000-inning plateau when he retired Craig
Counsell to lead off the first inning. ... Dodgers OF Ricky Ledee
strained his left groin on a checked swing third strike in the
seventh inning and will undergo an MRI on Wednesday. Little said a
trip to the disabled list is "likely".