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Batista flirts with perfection in D-Backs' win over A's

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Miguel Batista spent his time between innings bantering with fellow Dominican teammate Juan Cruz -- a far cry from the typical keep-to-yourself approach most pitchers stick to during a no-hit bid.

Cruz actually had the gall before the game to challenge Batista to go out and justify his big paycheck.

And boy did he.

Batista carried a perfect game into the seventh and didn't allow a hit until Frank Thomas' two-run homer, leading the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 7-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday.

"I threw everything today, everything I've got," Batista said. "The one thing that surprised me is they didn't take too many pitches. They're a team that usually makes you work."

Batista (8-5) finished with a three-hitter for his second complete game of the year and the ninth of his career. He retired the first 20 A's batters before he walked No. 3 hitter Bobby Crosby on four pitches with two outs in the seventh for Oakland's first baserunner.

Thomas followed with a two-run shot to the cement stairwell in left field to break up the no-hit bid, hitting a 2-2 cutter for his 17th homer one day after coming off the disabled list. The Big Hurt has 465 career home runs, tying him with Dave Winfield for 25th place on the career list.

The 35-year-old Batista was trying for the majors' first no-hitter since Randy Johnson pitched a perfect game for Arizona on May 18, 2004, at Atlanta. He struck out six and walked one in a 122-pitch performance.

"I haven't seen him pitch like that for several years," Thomas said.

Batista got through six innings having thrown only 74 pitches -- allowing just two balls to leave the infield, both routine flyouts. There wasn't even a close play until Gold Glove second baseman Orlando Hudson made a diving stop on Mark Kotsay's sharp grounder in the seventh moments before Crosby walked.

"You want to get on base and you can't," Crosby said. "You never want a team to throw a perfect game or a no-hitter against you. I was just trying to get on base any way I could."

Luis Gonzalez matched his career high with four hits and had three doubles to tie a Diamondbacks record. It was the third time an Arizona player has doubled three times in a game this season and the first since Johnny Estrada on May 6. Estrada drove in two runs Saturday.

Batista, who ended a three-start losing streak when he beat the Los Angeles Angels 9-7 last Sunday in Phoenix, worked ahead in the count all afternoon to keep his pitch count down -- and his gem helped Arizona win back-to-back games for the first time since sweeping a four-game series at Atlanta from June 1-4.

"It just feels good," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "Whether it's (because it's) July, I don't know."

Batista pumped his fist when he struck out Crosby to end the game. He had given up at least six runs in three of his last four outings, allowing 22 runs in 22 1/3 innings spanning those four starts.

Cruz told Batista and Estrada they were an "overpaid" combination and needed a big game.

"I did a lot of crazy stuff today," Batista said. "Johnny said, 'What are you doing?' I said, 'Justifying the paycheck."'

His teammates weren't too surprised to see Batista jawing with Cruz in the midst of an outing that could have made history.

"He talks to everybody," Gonzalez said. "Miggy's Miggy. He's a different bird."

Oakland, which came in with an AL-worst .249 batting average, hasn't been no-hit since July 13, 1991, by four Baltimore Orioles pitchers.

Jeff DaVanon's infield single in Arizona's six-run seventh broke a scoreless tie, with Shawn Green coming home after leading off the inning with a double. Conor Jackson singled in two runs, Gonzalez added an RBI double, and Chad Tracy and Estrada each had RBI singles as Arizona batted around in the inning.

Esteban Loaiza (3-5) pitched 6 2/3 innings for Oakland, running into trouble in the seventh. He allowed nine hits and five runs, struck out three and walked one to lose after pitching his first complete game in more than two years -- since May 9, 2004, at Toronto while with the Chicago White Sox -- with a six-hitter June 25 at San Francisco.

Loaiza didn't allow a hit until Gonzalez doubled with two outs in the fourth, then DaVanon tripled to the wall in center the next inning.

Oakland, which had its season-best eight-game home winning streak snapped Friday night with a 6-4 defeat, lost a series to Arizona for the first time in five sets. This series marked the first meetings between the clubs since July 6-8, 2001, when the A's earned a three-game sweep.

The A's can avoid being swept in Sunday's series finale that features a pitching matchup of two eight-game winners in Oakland ace Barry Zito and Arizona's Brandon Webb.

Arizona had an error when catcher Estrada missed a catch on Marco Scutaro's popup in foul territory in the third.

Notes

  • Oakland manager Ken Macha has been in uniform for three perfect games.
  • Loaiza is 3-2 in day games.
  • Oakland 3B Eric Chavez missed his second straight game with inflammation in his forearms.
  • Batista faced the A's four times last season -- all in relief -- while with the Toronto Blue Jays.
  • The latest A's fan giveaway: oven mitts and potholders.
  • Green hit his 17th double a day after getting two to reach 400 career doubles.
  • Gonzalez has 17 four-hit games.
 
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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Luiz Gonzalez has reason to be happy after going 4-for-4 and hitting three doubles in the win.  (AP)
Luiz Gonzalez has reason to be happy after going 4-for-4 and hitting three doubles in the win. (AP)

Players of the Game
Arizona

M. Batista
IP 9.0
H 3
ER 2
BB 1
K 6
Arizona

L. Gonzalez
AB 4
R 2
H 4
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Arizona Diamondbacks
Craig Counsell, SS5000003
Eric Byrnes, CF5120001
Chad Tracy, 3B5111012
Conor Jackson, 1B5112021
Luis Gonzalez, LF4241100
Johnny Estrada, C4022003
Shawn Green, RF4110112
Orlando Hudson, 2B5000006
Jeff DaVanon, DH4131010
Totals4171472518 
Batting
2B - Luis Gonzalez 3 (, Loaiza, Sauerbeck, Duchscherer), Johnny Estrada (, Duchscherer), Shawn Green (, Loaiza)
3B - Jeff DaVanon (, Loaiza)
RBI - Chad Tracy (), Conor Jackson 2 (), Luis Gonzalez (), Johnny Estrada 2 (), Jeff DaVanon ()
2-OUT RBI - Chad Tracy (), Conor Jackson 2 (), Luis Gonzalez (), Johnny Estrada ()
SB - Jeff DaVanon (, 2nd base off Sauerbeck/Kendall)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Hudson-Counsell-Jackson
E - Johnny Estrada (, )
Arizona Diamondbacks
Miguel Batista (W,-) 9322161
Pitches-Strikes - Miguel Batista 123-82
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Miguel Batista 15-5
Batters Faced - Miguel Batista 30
Oakland Athletics
Jason Kendall, C4000010
Mark Kotsay, CF4000010
Bobby Crosby, SS3100110
Frank Thomas, DH3112010
Nick Swisher, LF3000010
Jay Payton, RF3000000
Dan Johnson, 1B3010000
Mark Ellis, 2B3010000
Marco Scutaro, 3B3000011
Totals29232161 
Batting
HR - Frank Thomas (, Batista)
RBI - Frank Thomas 2 ()
2-OUT RBI - Frank Thomas 2 ()
Team LOB - 1
Oakland Athletics
Esteban Loaiza (L,-) 6.2955130
Scott Sauerbeck 1.1311110
Justin Duchscherer 1211010
HBP - Estrada (by Esteban Loaiza)
Pitches-Strikes - Esteban Loaiza 102-68, Scott Sauerbeck 28-16, Justin Duchscherer 16-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Esteban Loaiza 6-11, Scott Sauerbeck 1-2
Batters Faced - Esteban Loaiza 31, Scott Sauerbeck 8, Justin Duchscherer 5
Game Information
Attendance - 19024
Game Time - 2:21
Temperature - 66
Umpires - Home - Dana DeMuth, First Base - Doug Eddings, Second Base - Paul Schrieber, Third Base - Jim Joyce