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D-Backs win road finale against Bonds-less Giants

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants want to affect the playoff races even if both clubs won't be
taking part in the postseason.

And neither wants to finish last in the NL West.

Eric Byrnes hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs and the
Diamondbacks ended their 2006 road campaign with a 6-3 victory over
the Giants on Wednesday.

"These days are always fun," Byrnes said. "These games are
important for us. If we can't be a factor in the postseason, we
might as well be a factor during the season."

Claudio Vargas (12-10) struck out six in 6 2/3 strong innings to
end a three-start winless stretch, beating the Giants for the first
time in three tries this season.

"That's the best I started all year," Vargas said. "Staying
on one roll, that makes it easy."

Orlando Hudson, who returned to Arizona's lineup for the first
time since leaving the team before Sunday's game to tend to family
matters, scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in the sixth.
Byrnes also drove in the tying run that inning.

The Diamondbacks added two runs in the ninth on Alberto
Callaspo's sacrifice fly and Scott Hairston's RBI double. Jose
Valverde pitched the ninth for his 17th save in 21 chances.

Eliezer Alfonzo hit a two-run homer for the Giants that tied it
at 2 in the second after Byrnes connected for his 25th homer in the
first.

Moises Alou, who hit the winning home run Tuesday night in San
Francisco's 4-2 victory, had a leadoff double in the fourth and
later stole home on a double steal to give the Giants a 3-2 lead
before Arizona rallied in the sixth.

"It was fun," he said. "A good throw probably would have
gotten me at the plate. I'm glad it worked out for us."

The Diamondbacks now return home to finish the season with four
games against the San Diego Padres starting Thursday -- and the
atmosphere is expected to be emotional as Luis Gonzalez plays his
final home games in Phoenix.

Manager Bob Melvin gave Gonzalez a day off Wednesday heading
into the weekend. The popular left fielder was told earlier this
month by the team that it would not bring him back next season.
He's played for Arizona in eight seasons of the club's nine-year
existence.

Gonzalez delivered the winning hit in Game 7 of the 2001 World
Series as Arizona stunned the New York Yankees. Gonzalez, hitless
in four at-bats Tuesday night, is batting .271 with 15 home runs
and 73 RBI this year.

"The treatment from the fans will be the most important
thing," Melvin said. "He has always been there for his teammates.
Those are big games for the Padres. We can't lose sight of that,
and we won't."

Fans chanted "Barry! Barry!" in the seventh but Mark Sweeney
and then Todd Linden emerged from the dugout to pinch-hit instead
of slugger Barry Bonds, who sat out a second straight game to nurse
his tender left elbow. Bonds planned to play in some capacity
during a weekend series with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers, and is
scheduled to have surgery to clean out his elbow after the season.

Jonathan Sanchez (3-1), coming off three straight no-decisions,
allowed five hits and four runs in six innings, struck out two and
walked one to end his rookie season on a strong note.

"I went up there with my mind on throwing strikes and hitting
my spots, and that's what I did," said Sanchez, who hopes to be in
the 2007 rotation.

Giants manager Felipe Alou rested several regulars Wednesday but
expected to use a typical lineup to play the Dodgers starting
Friday.

Game notes
Alfonzo homered for the first time since Aug. 30 at
Atlanta, a span of 58 at-bats. "I don't remember the last one,"
he said. ... Arizona went 37-44 on the road this year. ... The
D'Backs, who already had lost the season series with San Francisco
for a fifth straight year, finished 8-11 against the Giants. ...
D'Backs 3B Chad Tracy, nursing mild tendinitis in his left knee,
had the day off. ... Alou's steal of home was the 33rd for the
Giants since the team moved West to San Francisco in 1958. The
40-year-old Alou is the oldest major league player to do it since
Paul Molitor in 1998 when he was 41 years, 270 days. "It feels
special to still be around at age 40," Alou said. "Making nice
plays in the field and stealing home plate." ... The Giants drew
34,503 fans to go over the 3 million mark for the seventh straight
year -- every season the team's waterfront ballpark has been open.