<
>

Rookie Quentin homers in ML debut as D-Backs win

PHOENIX (AP) -- Carlos Quentin homered in his first major league
game. Twenty minutes after Arizona's win was over, his trip around
the basepaths still seemed like a blur.

"It was kind of indescribable," the 23-year-old outfielder
said after helping the Diamondbacks beat the Los Angeles Dodgers
5-2 on Thursday night. "Everyone was on their feet cheering. It
was like, 'Whoa, did I just do that?"

Quentin, promoted from Triple-A Tucson earlier Thursday, hit a
two-run home run off Dodgers starter Mark Hendrickson (0-3) in his
third at-bat.

"He hung a curveball and I got it," Quentin said. "I put a
good swing on a mistake."

Arizona starter Brandon Webb (11-3) made few mistakes, as usual.
He allowed two runs and seven hits and lowered his National
League-leading ERA to 2.51. Webb walked two and struck out four.

"Today I had pretty good stuff," said Webb, who won his third
straight decision. "My arm felt great."

Jorge Julio pitched the ninth for 11th save in 12 opportunities.

The victory lifted third-place Arizona within two games of NL
West leader San Diego. Arizona has won eight of 10 since being
swept by the Dodgers in a three-game series earlier this month.

With every victory, the Diamondbacks bear little resemblance to
the team that stumbled to an 8-20 record in June. Arizona is 21-16
(.568) against the NL West, the best winning percentage in the
division.

"We've kind of re-established ourselves in the division after a
tough stretch," manager Bob Melvin said.

The Dodgers dropped to 1-7 since the All-Star break, all on the
road. They open a nine-game homestand against St. Louis on Friday.

"I just see a team that things just aren't happening for them
right now," Los Angeles manager Grady Little said. "The effort is
there. It's something we've got to get through."

Hendrickson lasted 5 1-3 innings, allowing five runs and nine
hits.

While pitching for Tampa Bay, Hendrickson beat the Diamondbacks
on June 20 in St. Petersburg. The Diamondbacks wasted no time
getting to him in the rematch.

Eric Byrnes led off the first with a single, stole second and
scored on Conor Jackson's single to put Arizona ahead 1-0.

The Dodgers tied it on Ramon Martinez' double play grounder in
the second. But the Diamondbacks went up 3-1 in the bottom of the
inning on doubles by Chad Tracy and Stephen Drew and a single by
Orlando Hudson.

The Diamondbacks added two runs in the sixth on Quentin's
390-foot homer to left field.

"One of those games that's kind of frustrating because I felt
like I had pretty good stuff," Hendrickson said.

Hendrickson needed to pitch much better to match Webb, who has
been in a groove since he went 0-3 in four starts from June 10-27.
In the last start of that sequence, Webb gave up a season-high
seven runs in seven innings against Seattle.

In four starts since then, Webb has allowed only four runs in 31
innings.

He dominated a Dodgers team whose .280 batting average leads the
league. His fielders helped by turning four double plays, tying a
club record.

In the seventh, Webb gave up a leadoff double to Andre Ethier
and walked Willy Aybar. He escaped the jam by getting Jose Cruz Jr.
to bounce back to the mound, starting a 1-6-3 double play. Webb's
104th and final pitch also produced a double play grounder, by
Nomar Garciaparra to end the eighth.

"He's not the guy we wanted to see today," Little said. "He
was on the top of his game. A couple of times there we thought we
had a chance, and then here comes that double play ball and that
was the story."

But Quentin was the real story. The former Stanford star and the
Diamondbacks' first-round draft pick in 2003, is considered a big
part of Arizona's future.

Quentin thought he'd never see the home run ball again, but the
fan who caught it returned it and didn't ask for anything in
return.

"The guy gave it back," Quentin said. "He didn't want
anything. He wrote me a note. I think I'm going to send him maybe a
bat or something, and say thank you."

Game notes
Quentin is the third Diamondback to homer in his major
league debut joining Travis Lee and Alex Cabrera. ... After
starting his big league career 0-for-8, Stephen Drew is 7-for-15.
His second-inning double was his fourth consecutive extra-base hit.
Drew had two doubles and a triple in his final three at-bats
Wednesday night. ... Drew's double came in the same inning his
older brother, J.D., doubled. J.D. Drew is 6-for-12 lifetime
against Webb. ... The game drew 25,294. The Diamondbacks are
averaging 24,194 per game, which puts them on a pace to draw
1,959,761. They drew more than 2 million in each of their first
eight seasons but have seen attendance decline six of the last
seven years. ... Arizona OF Eric Byrnes has not struck out in 56
straight plate appearances, the longest streak in the majors.