- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 17, 2007

BALTIMORE The Arizona Diamondbacks stumbled into Baltimore after dropping three straight and six of seven. They had fallen from first place to third in the NL West, their offense was struggling and beating American League teams was a daunting task.

Now, after two straight blowout wins, all is right with the Diamondbacks again.

Scott Hairston hit the first of three home runs off Daniel Cabrera, and Arizona dealt the Orioles their seventh straight loss, 8-4 last night at Camden Yards.

The Diamondbacks‘ second consecutive four-run win left them a game out of first and improved their interleague record to 3-5.

“We’ve been having fun, but I guess after you lose a few in a row, you start pressing a little more,” said Chris Young, who hit his ninth home run. “After these last couple games, you can tell out there that we’re a lot more loose and having a lot more fun now.”

Chad Tracy also connected for the Diamondbacks, who built a 5-0 lead in the third inning. Hairston nearly hit another homer in the sixth, but Orioles center fielder Corey Patterson leaped and reached over the 7-foot wall to snare the ball.

Not that it mattered. After allowing the Orioles to creep within a run, Arizona pulled away with a three-run ninth against rookie Jim Hoey, who was called up from Class AAA Norfolk before the game.

Before this series, the Diamondbacks were batting .206 over an 11-game stretch.

“We’ve got to keep it rolling because after we get two or three games where we swing it OK, we at times seem not to,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We’ve got to … keep grinding our bats because we expect to get better offensively, and the last two games have been pretty good.”

Arizona starter Edgar Gonzalez, working on two days rest as a replacement for the injured Randy Johnson, allowed one run and two hits in five innings. Gonzalez (3-2) was starting for the seventh time this season after pitching three scoreless innings in relief against the New York Yankees on Wednesday.

Given only 24 hours notice before the start, Gonzalez maintained his usual routine before turning in a solid 63-pitch effort.

“For a guy that’s kind of gotten the short end of the stick as far as the role he’s been used in, he’s been there for us every time,” Melvin said. “I couldn’t be happier with what Edgar has done for us this year.”

Cabrera (5-8) allowed five runs and six hits in eight innings. He permitted only one hit after the third inning, but by then the damage was done.

It was the second straight game in which the right-hander gave up three home runs. He has surrendered 14 this season compared to 11 all last year.

“I’m trying to keep the ball down, but I left a couple high,” he said. “We’re not machines. Sometimes you miss it, and they hit it.”

Story Continues →