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Diamondbacks shake up playoff races with win over Dodgers

Sep 24, 2006 - 5:23 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks should be expecting some thank you cards in the near future.

Rookies Conor Jackson and Carlos Quentin drove in two runs apiece in support of Miguel Batista's first win in eight starts as the Diamondbacks dealt a blow to the Los Angeles Dodgers' playoff hopes with a 9-3 victory.

While Arizona avoided a three-game losing streak, the real implications surround Los Angeles, which dropped farther back in the National League West race and fell out of the top spot in the wild card standings.

"We needed to come out and win this game tonight," said Dodgers manager Grady Little, whose team has seven games left. "Time is running out and we just need to put some wins together."

The Dodgers (81-74) now trail the first-place San Diego Padres (82-72) by 1 1/2 games in the division and sit one-half game behind the Philadelphia Phillies (81-73) in the wild card hunt.

"We can't get caught up in scoreboard watching, we just have to come out and play our game," Dodgers catcher Russell Martin said.

Los Angeles got off to a good start Saturday, scoring three runs in the first inning against Batista. But the veteran righthander rebounded to limit the Dodgers to just two hits over the next seven frames.

"I kept the ball up in the zone early on, but I just wanted to settle down and keep the ball down," Batista said. "I felt like I threw a good game. I got in a groove and just went after them."

Arizona tied it at 3-3 in the second inning on an RBI double by Jackson and a two-run homer by Quentin. The Diamondbacks added single runs in the third, fourth and seventh before Eric Byrnes' two-run base hit capped a three-run ninth.

"I know a lot of teams are watching the scoreboard right now but we aren't," Quentin said. "We just are trying to be a thorn in someone's side and win games."

Batista (11-7) improved to 3-0 against the Dodgers this year, holding them to three runs and six hits in eight innings. Los Angeles starter Brad Penny (16-9) was charged with five runs and nine hits in five ineffective frames.

"I just wasn't throwing my pitches consistently tonight," said Penny, who dropped to 6-7 since the All-Star break. "We needed a big win tonight and I just didn't throw good. I just want to put this behind us and get ready for my next start."

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