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D-Backs outlast Giants in 11 for season-high seventh straight win

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Bob Melvin is a believer in momentum, and that it can carry over into a new season. His Arizona Diamondbacks are on quite a roll to end this year.

Royce Clayton lined a tiebreaking double in the 11th inning for his fourth hit of the day, and the Diamondbacks won their season-best seventh straight game with a 2-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday.

"Everybody feels good right now," said Melvin, who has helped turn around the team in his first season as manager after Arizona lost 111 games last year. "To keep climbing, keep clawing and keep playing hard is a nice feel-good for the organization."

Tony Clark hit a first-inning sacrifice fly, Luis Gonzalez extended his season-best hitting streak to 11 games with a double off the right-field wall in the eighth, and the Diamondbacks wrapped up second place in the NL West behind the San Diego Padres.

Clayton doubled against Armando Benitez (2-3) to score Shawn Green from first, sending the Giants to their fifth straight loss. This stretch of success has been nice, but Clayton just wishes the Diamondbacks could have played like this in time to make a run at the division title and a playoff berth.

"It's nice but a little frustrating at the same time. It kind of got too late," Clayton said.

Brandon Medders (4-1) pitched the 10th, and Jose Valverde finished for his 15th save in 17 chances. The Diamondbacks have their best winning streak since getting 12 straight victories from June 18-30, 2003.

Arizona has won five straight road games and nine of 11 for a 41-39 record that guarantees the Diamondbacks the team's first winning record on the road since 2002, when Arizona went 43-38.

Melvin thinks the strong finish could provide the club with a boost heading into 2006, especially considering the Diamondbacks' drastic improvement.

"Any step in the right direction and finishing up like this can carry over to next year," Melvin said.

The Giants missed several opportunities.

Randy Winn, the majors' top hitter in September with a .447 average and 51 hits, doubled leading off the eighth after going hitless in his first three at-bats.

Omar Vizquel's sacrifice bunt moved Winn to third, then Lance Niekro drew a full-count walk to put runners on the corners for Ray Durham. Julio Ramirez entered as a pinch runner, then Durham struck out and drop kicked his bat in frustration. Pedro Feliz followed with an inning-ending lineout.

Lance Niekro hit a solo homer in the first for the Giants, the 12th of the year for the rookie. San Francisco had baserunners in the third, fourth and sixth but couldn't capitalize.

Barry Bonds has shut it down for the year to rest his surgically repaired right knee and prepare for next season.

"His knee's decision," manager Felipe Alou said.

Bonds, third on the career home run list with 708, was still with the team working out and rehabbing.

Brad Hennessey pitched seven strong innings but ended the season with back-to-back no decisions after his victory Sept. 21 at Washington ended a nine-start winless stretch. He allowed one run and four hits in a 104-pitch effort.

"I wanted to finish better than I started," Hennessey said. "I wanted to end on a good note and take it into next season, and I was able to do that."

Alou is high on Hennessey, who came up as an emergency starter but has impressed the Giants enough recently he could compete for a spot in the rotation again in 2006.

"Hennessey reassured us and himself that he's something we can count on next year," Alou said. "He's more confident now."

Javier Vazquez, who managed just one win in his final seven starts, allowed seven hits and one run in eight innings. The right-hander started the year 7-4 in his first 14 outings then went 4-11 over his last 19.

Notes

Clayton also stole two bases, his 12th and 13th of the year. ... Vazquez faced the Giants three times this season at San Francisco and won once. ... Giants 3B Edgardo Alfonzo didn't play as he nursed his tender left calf after fouling a pitch off the leg Friday night. He did the same thing in the same spot two years ago, so it still bothers him. Alfonzo wasn't sure whether he would play in Sunday's final game of the season. ... San Francisco C Mike Matheny rested and so did RF Moises Alou. ... Giants rookie RHP Matt Cain celebrated his 21st birthday. ... LHP Scott Eyre made his career-high 86th appearance for the Giants, a franchise single-season record. "I'm taking the day off tomorrow," he said with a grin. "I'll think about it when I get home, but I had a pretty good season."

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Players of the Game
Arizona

R. Clayton
AB 5
R 0
H 4
HR 0
RBI 1
Arizona

C. Counsell
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
 

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Arizona Diamondbacks
Craig Counsell, 2B5120012 .256
Luis Gonzalez, LF5010002 .271
Chad Tracy, RF4010111 .309
Tony Clark, 1B2001211 .304
Troy Glaus, 3B5000004 .258
Shawn Green, CF4100111 .288
Royce Clayton, SS5041001 .270
Chris Snyder, C2000001 .202
   a- Quinton McCracken, PH1000011 .232
    Kelly Stinnett, C2000011 .248
Javier Vazquez, P3000002 .238
   b- Conor Jackson, PH0000100 .195
    Tim Worrell, P0000000 .000
    Brandon Medders, P0000000 .000
    Jose Valverde, P0000000 .000
Totals382825617 
a-struck out for Snyder in the 7th
b-walked for Vazquez in the 9th
Batting
2B - Luis Gonzalez (37, Taschner), Royce Clayton (28, Benitez)
SF - Tony Clark (6)
RBI - Tony Clark (87), Royce Clayton (44)
SB - Craig Counsell (26, 2nd base off Hennessey/Haad), Royce Clayton 2 (13, 2nd base off Hennessey/Haad, 2nd base off Taschner/Haad)
CS - Royce Clayton (3, 3rd base by Benitez/Matheny)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Counsell-Clark
Arizona Diamondbacks
Javier Vazquez 8711341 4.42
Tim Worrell 1000000 4.07
Brandon Medders (W,4-1) 1000000 1.78
Jose Valverde (S,15) 1000000 2.44
Pitches-Strikes - Javier Vazquez 117-75, Tim Worrell 11-8, Brandon Medders 16-12, Jose Valverde 5-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Javier Vazquez 12-6, Tim Worrell 2-1, Brandon Medders 2-1, Jose Valverde 1-2
Batters Faced - Javier Vazquez 32, Tim Worrell 3, Brandon Medders 3, Jose Valverde 3
San Francisco Giants
Randy Winn, CF5010011 .305
Omar Vizquel, SS3020100 .273
Lance Niekro, 1B3111113 .251
    Julio Ramirez, PR0000000 .250
    J.T. Snow, 1B1000000 .273
Ray Durham, 2B5010012 .291
Pedro Feliz, 3B5010014 .251
Todd Linden, LF3000102 .216
Jason Ellison, RF4000001 .265
Yamid Haad, C3000000 .071
   a- Mike Matheny, PH-C1000000 .242
Brad Hennessey, P2010000 .231
   b- Daniel Ortmeier, PH1000000 .105
    Jack Taschner, P0000000 .000
    Scott Eyre, P0000000 .000
   c- Moises Alou, PH1000000 .318
    Armando Benitez, P0000000 .000
Totals371713413 
a-popped out for Haad in the 9th
b-flied out for Hennessey in the 7th
c-popped out for Eyre in the 10th
Batting
2B - Randy Winn (47, Vazquez)
HR - Lance Niekro (12, Vazquez)
SH - Omar Vizquel (19)
RBI - Lance Niekro (46)
2-OUT RBI - Lance Niekro (9)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Feliz-Durham-Snow
San Francisco Giants
Brad Hennessey 7411230 4.64
Jack Taschner 1.2200220 1.59
Scott Eyre 1.1100000 2.63
Armando Benitez (L,2-3) 1111110 4.50
Pitches-Strikes - Brad Hennessey 104-64, Jack Taschner 36-16, Scott Eyre 17-11, Armando Benitez 18-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brad Hennessey 11-7, Jack Taschner 1-2, Scott Eyre 1-2
Batters Faced - Brad Hennessey 27, Jack Taschner 9, Scott Eyre 4, Armando Benitez 4
Game Information
Attendance - 38772
Game Time - 3:26
Temperature - 71
Umpires - Home - Jeff Kellogg, First Base - Bill Miller, Second Base - Rob Drake, Third Base - Mike Reilly