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Diamondbacks Prove Their Worth to Red Sox

June 10, 2002|From Associated Press

BOSTON — The World Series champions used power and pitching to complete their sweep of this year's most successful team.

Junior Spivey hit an inside-the-park homer--one of four solo homers by the Arizona Diamondbacks at Fenway Park--and Rick Helling pitched them to a 7-3 win Sunday over the Boston Red Sox.

"For three games in a row, this is probably our best streak," Diamondback Manager Bob Brenly said.

"Against that lineup, we pitched as well as we could pitch and we made the plays."

The Red Sox lead the majors with a .290 batting average, but had only 22 hits in three games started by Miguel Batista, Curt Schilling and Helling. They lost, 7-5 and 3-2, then gave up single runs in seven innings in the finale.

"We couldn't have come into a season expecting not to lose three in a row or four in a row or five in a row every once in a while," Red Sox Manager Grady Little said.

"But we have a good club. We are 20 games over .500."

Despite its first three-game losing streak of the season and a 15-14 home mark, Boston (40-20) still has the best record in the majors.

Pedro Martinez on Saturday and John Burkett on Sunday each fell to 7-1. They were the last two unbeaten regular starters in the majors.

"Against two undefeated pitchers, to come in and sweep this series is a lot more than we expected," Mark Grace said.

Spivey hit a ball to left-center field in the seventh that bounced off the wall as center fielder Johnny Damon crashed into the wall and fell down.

Left fielder Brian Daubach raced to retrieve the ball, but he slipped.

Daubach's throw was up the third base line and Spivey missed the plate as he ran by it.

But he went back to touch it for his eighth homer before catcher Jason Varitek could tag him.

Spivey said he didn't see Daubach slip but did see third base coach Eddie Rodriguez wave him home.

"I thought it was going higher off the wall," Spivey said. "I was going hard all the way."

Luis Gonzalez, Damian Miller and Erubiel Durazo hit solo homers, and Gonzalez and Grace each doubled in a run.

"Anybody would have beaten us today. We didn't play well," Boston's Lou Merloni said.

The Diamondbacks lead the National League with a 39-23 record and open a three-game series tonight at Yankee Stadium against the team they beat in last year's World Series.

Helling said he doesn't look at that series or the Boston series as a measuring stick.

"We know we have a good team," he said.

"If we got swept, it wouldn't have meant anything."

Helling (6-5) gave up three runs, seven hits, one walk and struck out four in 7 2/3 innings.

Interestingly, Helling and Burkett were members of the Texas rotation in 1998 and 1999.

While Burkett revived his career the last two seasons with Atlanta, Helling had earned-run averages of 4.48 and 5.17 with the Rangers.

Spivey's homer came off reliever Chris Haney with two out in the seventh and made it 5-1.

Arizona took a 1-0 lead in the second on doubles by Spivey and Grace and made it 2-0 in the third on Gonzalez's leadoff homer, his 13th.

The Diamondbacks scored with no out in the fifth on a single by David Dellucci, who went to third when the ball eluded right fielder Trot Nixon for an error, and a double by Gonzalez.

Arizona got a run in the sixth when Tony Womack singled, stole second and scored on a single by Craig Counsell.

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