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Dessens notches victory with help from Hammock

4/13/2003

PHOENIX (AP) -- With Arizona's two-ace rotation sputtering, help
arrived from an unexpected source -- Elmer Dessens.

The right-hander, acquired as part of a four-team trade in
December, became the first Diamondbacks starter to win this year
when he beat the Milwaukee Brewers 9-3 Sunday.

"This was good for everybody,'' said Dessens, who accomplished
in his third start what Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling couldn't.
"I just tried to keep the ball down with my sinker and slider. I
feel good because our team was able to score a lot of runs.''

Rookie Robby Hammock provided more punch than anyone expected,
driving in four runs with a homer and double in his first major
league start and second game.

Dessens (1-1) allowed seven hits and two runs -- one a solo shot
by Royce Clayton -- in 6 2/3 innings. That helped the Diamondbacks
snap a four-game losing streak.

"He did exactly what he had to do,'' manager Bob Brenly said.
"He kept the ball down and got the ground balls, kept the infield
busy and got deep enough into the ballgame where we could just
bring Miguel (Batista) in there for a couple of innings of work.''

Dessens came out with two out in the seventh after Milwaukee
loaded the bases on a walk and singles by Eric Young and Richie
Sexson. Mike Myers got cleanup hitter Geoff Jenkins to pop up.

"He pitched well,'' Clayton said. "He moved the ball around,
he changed speeds and worked both sides of the plate. He's going to
be a good pitcher for these guys.''

Luis Gonzalez and Danny Bautista drove in two runs apiece for
Arizona, and Steve Finley had an RBI single. All three had three
hits.

"Today was a good sign of our offense,'' Gonzalez said. "I
think everybody was swinging the bat well. Obviously, Robby had a
great game for us.''

Hammock, who singled in his first major league at-bat Friday
after entering the game as a defensive replacement at third base,
had a memorable debut at catcher, going 3-for-4.

He broke a 2-2 tie in the third with a three-run, 374-foot drive
into the left-field grandstand off Glendon Rusch (1-2).

"I've been around these guys and knew what to do, but still,
that first start involved nerves,'' Hammock said. "Just gradually
as the game went on, getting that first hit -- the home run
definitely calmed me down a little bit.''

His homer followed a crucial point in the game. Rusch had two
outs and an 0-2 count on Bautista before the Arizona right fielder
hit an opposite-field single to right. Gonzalez, who led off with a
double, scored easily from second.

Finley followed with a double, sending Bautista to third and
bringing up Hammock.

"Young guy at the plate, he (Rusch) was trying to get him to
hit his pitch,'' Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "He was trying to
go inside and just didn't get it in. That was the start of it.''

Hammock, recalled from Triple-A Tucson as a backup after Rod
Barajas strained a hamstring April 6, also singled in the sixth and
scored on Gonzalez's single off Shane Nance to send Arizona up 8-2.

In the seventh, he increased that to 9-2 with a double that
skipped off the top of right fielder Jeffrey Hammonds' glove after
singles by Bautista and Finley.

Rusch allowed 11 hits and seven runs -- exactly his numbers in a
7-0 loss at St. Louis on April 2. The next game, he gave up one hit
in seven shutout innings at Pittsburgh.

The Diamondbacks were 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position
until Finley sliced an opposite-field single that dropped in front
of Jenkins in left field, scoring Matt Williams.

The Brewers answered with one big hit in each of the next two
innings -- a leadoff triple in the third by Alex Sanchez, who scored
on Young's groundout, and Clayton's homer.

Game notes
Rusch was 2-0 vs. Arizona last year, working two complete
games. ... The Brewers will not return to Phoenix this season, and
the teams don't play again until Arizona travels east from Sept.
19-21. ... Clayton has a six-game hitting streak.