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Arizona at Pittsburgh

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Arizona (89-70) «1300112008120
Pittsburgh (68-91)000000000081

Owings goes off again with bat and arm, powers D-Backs

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- Arizona manager Bob Melvin's last-minute move to play Micah Owings would have been a great one even if Owings hadn't pitched one of the best games of his career.

Owings was 4-for-4 with three doubles and three RBI while pitching 6 1/3 innings to boost the Diamondbacks over the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-0 Thursday and stop a three-game losing streak for the NL West leaders.

Given an ominous weather forecast, Melvin decided less than an hour before game time to hold back ace Brandon Webb (17-10) and pitch Owings (8-8).

The Diamondbacks have a one-game division lead heading into a three-game series Friday at Colorado with Webb on the mound. Arizona leads San Diego, which beat Milwaukee 9-5, by a game. Colorado, which played later at Los Angeles, was 2½.

"I was eating breakfast when they told me, and a lot started running through my mind," Owings said. "It got back to the fact I've got to go out and do the best I can, try to help my team and not try to do too much."

Do too much? How much more could he have done?

Owings allowed four hits, struck out four and walked none. In his previous start, he beat San Francisco 5-0 on Sept. 18 with a two-hitter.

"How impressive was the two-hit shutout the last time? Pretty impressive," Melvin said. "But this is even more impressive to me."

Owings hit an RBI double during a three-run second against John Van Benschoten (0-7), then added a two-run double in the seventh off Romulo Sanchez. Overall, it wasn't as big a game statistically as Owings' two-homer, six-RBI day against Atlanta on Aug. 18, but he pitched better than he did in beating the Braves 7-6.

"It was nice to get back in the (batter's) box. It had been over a week," Owings said. "I love getting in the box. It's just another way I can help the team."

Owings was lifted when it finally began raining, but only briefly, during the seventh. Play was held up only 18 minutes, but Tony Pena replaced Owings when the game resumed.

"The main thing is we're still in first place," Owings said. "I wish I could say the pressure was on and I wanted to be the guy to step up, but I think anybody in this room would say that."

Pena, Dustin Nippert and Yusmeiro Petit finished Arizona's 12th shutout of the season with a scoreless inning apiece.

Webb is 3-0 in his career against Pittsburgh, but 0-3 against Colorado, and top pitchers often dislike moving off schedule. But with heavy rain expected to fall early -- instead, it skirted the city except during the brief delay -- Melvin didn't want Webb to pitch only an inning or two and then be forced out of the game.

Melvin also said Owings was "strong minded" and wasn't bothered by starting on short notice.

Given Owings' day, apparently not.

"He just likes to play the game," Melvin said. "If I'd have told him he was playing first base, he would have said, 'Let's do it.' He's a pitcher, yet he's a baseball player, yet he's a competitor."

Stephen Drew homered, singled twice and had three RBI to support Owings, a .339 hitter who has 11 extra-base hits this season, including four homers. Owings, 4-for-5 at Atlanta on Aug. 18, became the first pitcher with two four-hit games in one season since the Yankees' Whitey Ford against the St. Louis Browns on Aug. 3, 1953, and at Washington nine days later.

All that offense made for a much better flight to Denver, with the Diamondbacks rookies dressed up for their traditional hazing day in a variety of feminine garb.

Players exchanged their uniforms for dresses for the long flight, with infielder Alberto Callaspo decked out as an all-in-white tooth fairy replete with a magic wand.

Isn't winning fun?

"When we got on the board first, I think everybody settled down a little bit," Drew said. "Everything worked out well."

Van Benschoten, a former first-round draft pick in danger of being taken off the 40-man roster following several years of arm problems, lasted only two innings, giving up four runs and six hits while elevating his ERA to 10.15. The Pirates lost their 10th in 12 games despite winning the previous two nights.

"The pitches I threw for balls were in the wrong places, the pitches I threw for strikes were in the wrong places," Van Benschoten said. "I've got to be a lot better. I've got a long offseason to figure it out."

Drew got the Diamondbacks off to the quick start they talked about after their 5-1 loss Wednesday night, hitting his 12th homer on Van Benschoten's sixth pitch.

Owings doubled following Augie Ojeda's leadoff single in the second, and Drew and Eric Byrnes followed later with run-scoring singles. Tony Clark hit a solo homer in the fifth off Tony Armas, his 17th of the season and third in 14 at-bats against Pittsburgh this season.

Notes

  • Drew went 12-for-27 (.444) at Pittsburgh this season.
  • Clark has four homers in 22 career at-bats at PNC Park.
  • Ojeda went 2-for-4 with three runs and reached base three times. He was on base nine times in 13 plate appearances in the series.
  • Pittsburgh's scheduled starter, Paul Maholm (back), also was scratched, but that move was made Wednesday.
 
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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Hats off to Micah Owings, who goes 4-for-4 with three RBI and pitches 6 1/3 innings of shutout ball.  (AP)
Hats off to Micah Owings, who goes 4-for-4 with three RBI and pitches 6 1/3 innings of shutout ball. (AP)

Players of the Game
Arizona

M. Owings
IP 6.1
H 4
ER 0
BB 0
K 4
Arizona

S. Drew
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 3
 
Arizona Diamondbacks
Chris Young, CF5000014 .236
Stephen Drew, SS5233012 .236
Eric Byrnes, LF5011013 .288
    Carlos Quentin, RF0000000 .211
Tony Clark, 1B4111112 .253
Mark Reynolds, 3B4110120 .279
Jeff Salazar, RF-LF4000121 .278
Chris Snyder, C4000113 .255
Augie Ojeda, 2B4320101 .284
Micah Owings, P4143000 .339
    Tony Pena, P0000000 .250
    Dustin Nippert, P0000000 .000
    Yusmeiro Petit, P0000000 .071
Totals39812859  
Batting
2B - Micah Owings 3 (7, Van Benschoten, Armas, R. Sanchez)
HR - Stephen Drew (12, Van Benschoten), Tony Clark (17, Armas)
RBI - Stephen Drew 3 (59), Eric Byrnes (83), Tony Clark (51), Micah Owings 3 (15)
2-OUT RBI - Micah Owings 2 (4)
PK - Eric Byrnes (4, Van Benschoten)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Carlos Quentin 1, Jeff Salazar 1
DP - Drew-Ojeda-Clark, Drew-Ojeda-Clark
PB - Chris Snyder (9)
Arizona Diamondbacks
Micah Owings (W,8-8) 6.1400040 4.30
Tony Pena 0.2100010 3.31
Dustin Nippert 1100000 5.32
Yusmeiro Petit 1200000 5.02
Pitches-Strikes - Micah Owings 83-58, Tony Pena 9-7, Dustin Nippert 12-8, Yusmeiro Petit 16-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Micah Owings 5-8, Dustin Nippert 1-1
Batters Faced - Micah Owings 21, Tony Pena 3, Dustin Nippert 3, Yusmeiro Petit 4
Pittsburgh Pirates
Nyjer Morgan, CF4020000 .298
Jack Wilson, SS4020000 .297
Adam LaRoche, 1B3010011 .275
    Juan Perez, P0000000 .000
   a- Jason Bay, PH1000001 .248
Xavier Nady, LF4010013 .282
Jose Bautista, 3B3000002 .258
Steve Pearce, RF3010011 .298
Jose Castillo, 2B2000001 .240
    Romulo Sanchez, P0000000 .000
    Josh Phelps, 1B1010000 .308
Carlos Maldonado, C3000011 .150
John Van Benschoten, P0000000 .143
    Tony Armas, P1000010 .115
    Matt Kata, 2B2000000 .219
Totals3108005  
a-flied out for J. Perez in the 9th
Batting
2B - Jack Wilson (29, Petit), Adam LaRoche (41, Owings)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
E - Jack Wilson (11, Misplayed grounder)
Pittsburgh Pirates
John Van Benschoten (L,0-7) 2644211 10.15
Tony Armas 3211051 6.09
Romulo Sanchez 2433220 5.40
Juan Perez 2000110 3.00
Pitches-Strikes - John Van Benschoten 50-31, Tony Armas 60-40, Romulo Sanchez 45-24, Juan Perez 23-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tony Armas 3-2, Romulo Sanchez 3-1, Juan Perez 2-3
Batters Faced - John Van Benschoten 13, Tony Armas 12, Romulo Sanchez 12, Juan Perez 7
Game Information
Attendance - 11335
Game Time - 2:37
Temperature - 71
Umpires - Home - Greg Gibson, First Base - Larry Vanover, Second Base - Dana DeMuth, Third Base - Tony Randazzo