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Baerga drives in seven runs to back Schilling

4/18/2003

PHOENIX (AP) -- Carlos Baerga hasn't felt this good at the plate
in years, and Curt Schilling is looking like his old self, too.

Finally, there is some good news for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Baerga drove in a career-best seven runs with two homers and a
double and Schilling pitched a four-hitter for his first victory of
the season as the Diamondbacks routed the Colorado Rockies 11-2
Thursday.

After Arizona rallied for three runs in the ninth to beat the
Rockies 4-3 Wednesday night, the Diamondbacks won consecutive games
for the first time this season.

"This was vintage D'Backs today," Schilling said. "You hope
to build on something like yesterday, and I think we did that
today."

Baerga, starting at second base in place of slumping Junior
Spivey, hit his first grand slam in nearly 10 years, off Jason
Jennings in the second inning. The only other slam in Baerga's
11-year major league career came for Cleveland against Oakland on
July 20, 1993.

"I feel really good at the plate from both sides," Baegra
said. "It's something I haven't felt in a long time. Maybe in '93,
'94, '95, '96 -- those years -- I'd feel like that every time that I
was going to hit. Now I've got it back, and it's a great feeling."

He added a two-run homer, also off Jennings, in the fourth as
the Diamondbacks split the four-game series. Baerga capped his big
day with an RBI ground-rule double to deep right-center off Jose
Jimenez in the seventh.

Schilling gave up a double to Ronnie Belliard to start the game,
then retired 19 in a row before Todd Helton singled with one out in
the seventh.

Arizona manager Bob Brenly thought Schilling showed his old
confidence.

"He was tremendous. His fastball got better as the game went
on," Brenly said. "He started out in the low 90s and ended up at
97 in the last inning. He had the devastating split working and
dropped in just enough curveballs to keep them honest."

Schilling (1-2) struck out 10 and walked none in his 77th career
complete game and first this season. He threw 102 pitches, 78
strikes, in a game that lasted just 2 hours, 20 minutes.

"I haven't won a game since Sept. 10 last year," Schilling
said. "I just tried to stay focused. Offensively, we put them away
early and it was up to me to put the ball in the strike zone."

It was the eighth multihomer game of the 34-year-old Baerga's
career, his first since May 23, 1995. The seven RBIs were
second-most in the Diamondbacks' six-year history. Erubiel Durazo
drove in nine runs against Philadelphia last May 17.

Jennings (1-2), last season's NL Rookie of the Year, allowed
nine runs on 11 hits in 4 1-3 innings. All four of the runs on
Baerga's slam were unearned because of Jennings' throwing error
that loaded the bases.

"Their guy was real good. Our guy wasn't good," Colorado
manager Clint Hurdle said. "The best move of the day was Brenly
playing Baerga. He showed up good for them."

The game was tied at 1 when Steve Finley led off the second with
a single. Tony Womack struck out, then Chad Moeller singled to put
runners at first and second. Schilling laid down a sacrifice bunt,
and Jennings tried to force the lead runner at third, but his throw
was wide and pulled Chris Stynes off the bag to load the bases.

"That's a play I've got to make," Jennings said. "The grand
slam never would have happened."

Jennings fanned Craig Counsell for the second out, then Baerga
hit the first pitch 337 feet just over the fence into the Colorado
bullpen down the right-field line and it was 5-1.

"I just didn't have real good stuff today, and it was up in the
zone," Jennings said, "and that's not a real good combination,
especially against a veteran lineup like that."

Luis Gonzalez led off the sixth with his fourth home run of the
season, off Dan Miceli.

Five Diamondbacks had at least one RBI and every Arizona starter
except Schilling got a hit.

Belliard scored in the first after his leadoff double. He
advanced to third on Jay Payton's groundout, then came home when
Helton grounded out to second.

Payton homered in the ninth.

Game notes
Through six innings, Schilling had thrown 58 pitches, 48
for strikes. ... The Diamondbacks, who had lost every series before
this one, begin a nine-game road trip Friday in St. Louis. ...
Arizona rookie 1B Lyle Overbay singled and doubled to extend his
hitting streak to 10 games. ... Baerga's previous best was five
RBIs. He did it three times, most recently on April 26, 1996. ...
Colorado's Preston Wilson was 0-for-3, snapping his nine-game
hitting streak. It was just the second time this season he didn't
get a hit.

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