<
>

D-Backs blank Dodgers behind Batista's six-hitter

PHOENIX (AP) -- Last year, Miguel Batista sat next to Hall of
Famer Juan Marichal on a flight from the Dominican Republic to
Florida for spring training.

"We had an hour-and-45 minute conversation on pitching,"
Batista said. "It was really interesting."

Batista said Marichal told him, "Nobody relieved me. I relieved
myself. After the seventh (inning), I came with a different
mentality. I've got to finish my games."

Batista showed the same mentality Wednesday night, throwing a
six-hitter to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks past the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-0.

Marichal, who completed 244 games and threw 52 shutouts in 16
seasons, would have been proud of his fellow Domincan. Batista
(9-5) struck out two and walked two in his third complete game of
the season. It was his first shutout since he blanked the Dodgers
on June 9, 2004, when he was pitching for the Blue Jays.

Batista, who shaved his ERA down from 4.94 to 4.58, seemed to
grow stronger as the game wore on.

"It could be the best he's thrown this year," Arizona manager
Bob Melvin said. "They didn't get too many good swings off him
today. Whenever you see him get deep in a game, it means he's
throwing strike one and getting ahead."

Batista had plenty of support, starting with Stephen Drew, who
had two doubles and a triple in his fifth big league game. Former
Dodger Shawn Green and Orlando Hudson each hit two-run homers for
the Diamondbacks, who have won seven of their last nine games. Luis Gonzalez added three hits, including an RBI double.

Drew, promoted from Triple-A Tucson when starting shortstop
Craig Counsell got hurt, was Arizona's top draft choice and the
15th overall pick in the 2004 draft.

Drew left without speaking to reporters. But Melvin said the
rookie's big night at the plate "goes a long way for your
confidence." Drew had two hits in his first 16 at-bats before
doubling in the fourth and sixth and tripling in the seventh.

The Dodgers lost for the sixth time in seven games since the
All-Star break and dropped from second to fourth in the tightly
contested NL West with the loss. The Dodgers have been shut out
five times this year.

Los Angeles starter Derek Lowe (7-7), who lost his third
straight start, was battered for five earned runs and 11 hits in 4
1/3 innings.

Batista has been inconsistent since he returned to the
Diamondbacks last winter in a trade that sent Troy Glaus to
Toronto. He won three straight starts from May 24 to June 4, then
lost three in a row, then won two in a row. He had not earned a
decision in his previous two outings.

On Wednesday night, the good Batista showed up. Staying ahead of
the hitters from the start, he looked like the pitcher who went
11-8 with a 3.38 ERA when Arizona won the World Series in 2001.

"'Miggy' flashed back to 2001 with the way he pitched
tonight," Gonzalez said.

Dodger manager Grady Little said he's watched Batista dominate
in the AL, the NL and the Dominican winter league.

"I've never seen him have a bad game, and I didn't want to say
that to anyone before the game started, but that string is still
alive," Little said.

Lowe matched Batista for three scoreless innings, but the
Diamondbacks pounded him in the fourth.

Chad Tracy, moved up to No. 2 in the order, led off with a
single and scored on a double by Gonzalez. One out later, a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile?statsId=6720">Johnny Estrada singled in Gonzalez to give Arizona a 2-0 lead. It was
Estrada's 50th RBI, most among NL catchers.

Green followed Estrada with his ninth homer of the season, a
443-foot drive over the 25-foot high center-field wall.

"It comes down to execution, and that's how you have success at
this level, and I'm not really having too much success," said
Lowe, who fell to 1-4 with a 6.48 ERA in his career against the
Diamondbacks.

Game notes
Batista has 10 career complete games and four shutouts. ...
Gonzalez's fourth-inning double was the 525th of his career, tying
him with Ted Williams for 31st on the career list. ... Jackson was
back in the lineup after missing two games with a strained
shoulder. ... The NL West is a combined 11-21 since the All-Star
break. ... Aybar's error was only the third by the Dodgers in nine
games.