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'Real lucky' Arizona matches '98 win total against Cubs

Copyright © 1999 Nando Media

Copyright © 1999 Associated Press

CHICAGO (August 11, 1999 12:37 a.m. EDT http://www.sportserver.com) -

With almost one-third of the season left, the Arizona Diamondbacks already have matched their victory total from 1998.

Steve Finley homered and Arizona took advantage of three straight errors in the sixth inning to score two more runs, beating the Chicago Cubs 3-1 Tuesday.

"People can call us a surprise," Arizona outfielder Luis Gonzalez said, "but this is a totally different team than last year."

Arizona (65-49), which opened a 6 1/2-game lead over second-place San Francisco in the NL West, has won four straight and 16 of 20. The Diamondbacks finished last with a 65-97 record last year in their inaugural season.

"We've been real lucky," Diamondbacks manager Buck Showalter said. "Everybody's pulling in the same direction."

The Cubs, last this year after winning the NL wild card, outhit Arizona 9-5 but stranded 12 runners.

"Last year, we would've won that game," second baseman Mickey Morandini said. "It's very frustrating. This team is better than this."

Finley tied the score in the second with his 22nd homer, and Arizona took advantage of the sloppy fielding in the sixth, which included errors by shortstop Jose Nieves on consecutive plays. Chicago has made 99 errors, fourth-most in the NL.

"He's a good shortstop and good shortstops make errors," Cubs manager Jim Riggleman said. "We just fell apart there in the one inning."

Greg Swindell (2-0) pitched 3 1/3 innings of one-hit, shutout relief.

Diamondbacks starter Brian Anderson left in the second after he was hit in the left arm by a line drive off the bat of Henry Rodriguez.

"I thought I broke his arm. I thought I killed him," Rodriguez said. "I'm glad I didn't hit him in the face."

X-rays were negative and Arizona said Anderson sustained a bruised elbow.

"I knew it was going to hit me," Anderson said. "It hit and the first thought in my brain was, `My elbow blew up.' I wanted to make sure my arm was still there. I know it's not broken. Other than that, we'll see."

Anderson gave up one run, three hits and one walk in one-plus inning.

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