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D-Backs win 5th straight on Pirates' miscue, Anderson's arm

Copyright © 1999 Nando Media

Copyright © 1999 Associated Press


PHOENIX (September 15, 1999 2:50 a.m. EDT -

Erubiel Durazo provided the long ball and Hanley Frias polished off the small details as the Arizona Diamondbacks pushed closer to a division title Tuesday.

Frias singled and broke a tie by scoring on Pittsburgh first baseman Kevin Young's error in the eighth inning, allowing the Diamondbacks to beat the Pirates 2-1 Tuesday night.

"When I came up I knew I had to get on base," Frias said. "I don't know how, but I've got to get on base. I got a pitch to hit and I lined it through the hole into left field, so I got the hit."

Durazo had a solo homer and a single in three at-bats for the Diamondbacks, who won for the ninth time in 10 games - the last five in a row - and reduced their magic number to 10.

Any combination of 10 Diamondbacks victories or San Francisco losses, and Arizona will clinch the NL West title and become the first second-year franchise to reach the playoffs.

Mark Wilkins (2-3) gave up Frias' hit and one unearned run in the ninth.

Brian Anderson, making his first start in four weeks because of manager Buck Showalter's decision to rest Armando Reynoso,

allowed one hit and two walks, and struck out two in seven innings. He ran his scoreless-inning string to 16.

In his last start before being sent to the bullpen to make room for Todd Stottlemyre's return from the disabled list, Anderson threw a three-hit shutout against the Chicago Cubs.

But Anderson came out after throwing 77 pitches, and reliever Gregg Olson gave up a solo homer to pinch-hitter Brant Brown in the eighth, followed by a double by Dale Sveum.

"We were thinking six (innings) or 75, whichever came first, but his pitch count was so low we let him go another inning," Showalter said. "But he hadn't pitched in a month. We were very fortunate that he pitched that far into the game."

Greg Swindell (3-0) got two outs in the eighth, and Matt Mantei picked up his 29th save in 33 opportunities, striking out the last two batters with runners on second and third.

Mantei has been working on his curveball, but he never considered using it against rookie Chad Hermansen with two out.

"He wasn't taking very good hacks at my fastball. I'm not going to do somebody a favor by slowing the ball down," Mantei said.

Frias singled to lead off the eighth, was sacrificed to second by Kelly Stinnett and reached third on a groundout by Greg Colbrunn. He scored when Tony Womack hit a soft grounder to Pirates reliever Scott Sauerbeck, who threw low to Young.

The ball went under Young's glove and into right field, and Frias' run stood despite Pirates' protests that Young had it long enough to record the out.

"I dropped it," Young said. "I should have caught it. It's one of those things that will lose the game for you."

Anderson's gem overshadowed one thrown by Francisco Cordova, who did not give up a hit until Durazo hit his solo shot over the 376-foot sign in right field in the fourth inning. Durazo also singled in the seventh.

Cordova retired the first seven hitters before walking Stinnett with one out in the third inning.

"He only gave up two hits," manager Gene Lamont said. "He kept the ball down and had a good sinker."

With two outs in the fourth, Durazo pulled Cordova's first pitch on a high arc toward right field. Hermansen drifted back to the fence and jumped, but couldn't reach the ball, which landed a few yards away from the swimming pool where Durazo's three-run homer splashed down the night before.

It was the rookie's 11th homer in 113 at-bats and the second time he homered in consecutive games.

"That was a changeup out over the plate," Showalter said. "He got a full swing on it, but that was a strong man's home run."

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