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Giles' seven RBI help Padres retake first in NL West

PHOENIX (AP) -- Staked to a nine-run lead after a half inning,
the San Diego Padres were ready to coast against Arizona on
Wednesday night.

But strange things have happened to the Padres here over the
years. And after they nearly blew a 10-run lead, the Padres were
happy to leave town with a 14-10 victory and the NL West lead.

San Diego watched in disbelief as the Diamondbacks tied a team
record in an eight-run sixth to draw within 11-10. The Padres
weren't safe until Brian Giles, who drove in a career-high seven
runs, hit a three-run homer off Luis Vizcaino in the seventh.

"It looked like one of those easy games, and then it got
interesting real quick there," San Diego manager Bruce Bochy said.
"We haven't had a lot of luck in this ballpark, and it seemed like
it was headed that way again."

With the victory, the Padres improved to 20-49 all-time at Chase
Field, formerly known as Bank One Ballpark. They also averted a
three-game sweep by the Diamondbacks, who swept three from San
Diego in Petco Park last month.

It was the sort of wild game that has become common in the
topsy-turvy NL West, where every team is over .500. The
Diamondbacks used two starting pitchers -- Juan Cruz (1-2) and
Claudio Vargas -- to record a total of eight outs. After leading
11-2 in the sixth inning, San Diego had to call on closer Trevor
Hoffman to finish the game.

The smallest crowd in Arizona history, 18,012, watched the
Padres rock Diamondback starting pitcher Cruz, who retired only two
of the 12 batters he faced.

"I just had a bad day," said Cruz, who allowed the nine runs
on five hits, three walks and two hit batsmen. "That was the worst
game in all my career."

Padres starter Mike Thompson (1-0), who was promoted from
Triple-A Portland Tuesday night, allowed three runs in five innings
to earn a victory in his major league debut.

Arizona had won the first two games of the three-game series to
vault over the Padres and take sole possession of first place for
the first time since May 25, 2005. But the Diamondbacks' hopes for
a sweep dimmed in a disastrous first inning.

The inning began when Dave Roberts led off with a double. After
Cruz walked Mike Cameron, Giles singled to make it 1-0.

Khalil Greene doubled to make it 3-0, and after Cruz struck out
Mark Bellhorn for the first out, Geoff Blum singled home two runs
to give San Diego a 5-0 lead.

Four batters later, Cruz walked Cameron -- for the second time in
the inning -- to force in the Padres' sixth run. Arizona manager Bob
Melvin lifted Cruz after Giles' bases-clearing double made it 9-0.

Giles finished 4-for-6 with two singles, a double and a homer.
He credited leadoff man Dave Roberts and No. 2 hitter Mike Cameron,
who reached base a combined seven times Wednesday night, for his
record RBI performance.

"They're setting the table great for me," Giles said.

The Diamondbacks set a record for runs allowed in a first
inning. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the previous mark was
eight in a 12-7 loss to San Francisco on April 23, 2000.

It was San Diego's biggest inning since May 31, 1994, when the
Padres tied a club record with 13 runs in the second inning against
Pittsburgh.

Taking the mound with a nine-run cushion, Thompson seemed
assured of his first career victory. But the Diamondbacks made him
sweat it out.

Trailing 11-2, Arizona scored eight runs in the sixth inning.
The rally began with three consecutive singles off Thompson, who
was lifted by Padre manager Bruce Bochy. Conor Jackson greeted
reliever Scott Cassidy with a two-run double, and then Johnny
Estrada doubled to make it 11-5.

Greene's fielding error set the stage for Tony Clark's three-run
pinch home run, which trimmed Arizona's deficit to 11-8.

After Craig Counsell singled, Eric Byrnes hammered a Cassidy
pitch into the left field seats to make it 11-10, San Diego. Bochy
summoned Alan Embree, who retired Chad Tracy to end the inning.

Arizona's eight-run inning tied a club record, achieved five
times.

"We finally got out of that inning," Bochy said. "It seemed
like it was never going to end."

Arizona has done this before, rallying from a six-run
fifth-inning deficit to beat Los Angeles 10-8 May 2 in Chase Field.
The Diamondbacks also erased six- and seven-run deficits in games
they went on to lose against San Francisco here last month.

"I tell you, every time we get in that position we battle
back," Melvin said.

It took Scott Linebrink, who pitched the seventh and eighth
innings, and Hoffman to shut down the Diamondbacks.

Melvin was forced to call on Vargas, Friday's scheduled starter,
to pitch the last two innings.

"It would have been disappointing to lose a lead of that many
runs," Greene said. "It was good to at least win one coming out
of here."

Game notes
After using Friday's scheduled starter, Claudio Vargas, to
pitch the last two innings, Melvin announced that Miguel Batista
and Brandon Webb will each move up a day. Batista will start Friday
against Atlanta and Webb will face the Braves on Saturday. Because
the Diamondbacks are off Thursday, both pitchers will go on their
usual four-day rest. ... Umpire Mark Hirschbeck missed the game
after leaving Tuesday night's game with back spasms. He was
replaced Wednesday night by Rob Drake, who worked third base. ...
The Diamondbacks, who drew a franchise season-low 2,058,741 last
year, have drawn the three smallest crowds in team history this
season.