Series: Game 2 of 3

Arizona leads 2-0 (as of 5/16)

Game 1: Monday, May 15
San Diego5Final
in 10
Game 2: Tuesday, May 16
San Diego2Final
Game 3: Wednesday, May 17
San Diego14Final

Padres 2

(22-18, 12-6 away)

Diamondbacks 5

(22-17, 12-7 home)

    9:40 PM ET, May 16, 2006

    Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona 

    123456789 R H E
    SD 000002000 2 6 0
    ARI 00102101 - 5 13 1

    W: J. Grimsley (1-1)

    L: J. Peavy (3-4)

    S: J. Valverde (12)

    D-Backs slip past Padres, move into first in NL West

    PHOENIX (AP) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks wanted to savor the moment after moving into first place in the NL West.

    Eric Byrnes and Chad Tracy hit back-to-back homers as the Diamondbacks beat San Diego 5-2 Tuesday night for the fifth straight victory over the Padres.

    Arizona took a half-game lead over San Diego Padres and the Colorado Rockies atop the division.

    "It's awesome," Tracy said. "It's good to go home and go to sleep and know you're on top of the division."

    With 123 games to go in the regular season, the Diamondbacks were just enjoying the feeling. They hadn't been in sole possession of the division lead since May 25, 2005.

    "It matters. It matters a lot," reliever Jason Grimsley said. "You'd rather be in first place than last."

    However, if Arizona hopes to stay in first place, it may soon be looking for starting pitching. Starter Orlando Hernandez left the game in the third with a mid-back strain. He also may have injured his right knee.

    "The doctor will take a look at it (Wednesday), and maybe I'll have a good report," said Hernandez, who has made seven trips to the disabled list since 2000.

    It was the second time this season that an Arizona starter was forced to walk off the mound with an injury. On April 18, Russ Ortiz left with one out in the third inning with what was later diagnosed as a calf injury. Ortiz made one more start before being placed on the disabled list.

    With Hernandez out of the game and San Diego ace Jake Peavy in it, the Diamondbacks looked like they were in trouble. But Grimsley and the rest of the bullpen held down the Padres until Arizona's hitters could get to Peavy, who went 3-0 against them last year.

    Grimsley relieved Hernandez and immediately gave up a single to Josh Barfield. One out later, Grimsley's throwing error loaded the bases. But he escaped the jam when Mike Cameron grounded into a double play.

    Grimsley (1-1), who was credited with the victory, pitched three scoreless innings, retiring the last seven men he faced. He gave way to Casey Daigle, who gave up a two-run home run to Brian Giles, his third, to pull the Padres to 3-2 in the sixth.

    Jose Valverde pitched the ninth for his 12th save in 13 opportunities.

    Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks came up with timely hits, as they've often done this season. Four of their five RBI came with two out.

    "They are a good team, I can tell you that," said Peavy (3-4), who allowed three runs and six hits in five innings. "That lineup can hit, I can promise you that."

    The Diamondbacks took a 1-0 lead in the third on Tracy's two-out double, which scored Byrnes from first base.

    Two innings later, Byrnes made it 2-0 when he belted a Peavy pitch into the left field seats. Then Tracy hit a 445-foot homer to right field to put Arizona up 3-0.

    It was the first time this season that the Diamondbacks hit consecutive home runs.

    "That was a pretty impressive win for us," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said.

    The Diamondbacks were in third place in the NL West when this three-game series began Monday. If they lose the series finale Wednesday night, they could find themselves back in third place. That's how tight the NL West is these days.

    "Everybody's gunning for us," Tracy said. "We can't let up now. We have to put some distance between us and the rest of the division."

    Game notes

    1B umpire John Hirschbeck was forced to leave the game in the third inning with back spasms. A three-man crew of C.B Bucknor, Wally Bell and Mark Carlson worked the rest of the game. ... Ortiz allowed one earned run and two hits in four innings for Triple-A Tucson on Tuesday night.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press