for this game

Clark's game-winning homer helps Diamondbacks defeat Braves

Jul 28, 2007 - 7:01 AM By Al Bravo PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

PHOENIX (Ticker) - After an impressive hitting attack and some timely pitching, the Arizona Diamondbacks again needed late dramatics for the second night in a row to pull off their seventh straight win.

Tony Clark hit his 10th home run and his second career walk-off blast, to give the Diamondbacks an 8-7 victory against the Atlanta Braves on Friday night in 11 innings.

The win gets Arizona within a game of first-place Los Angeles in the National League West after the Dodgers were rained out at Colorado. Atlanta remained four games back of the New York Mets, who lost 6-2 to Washington on Friday.

It was the fifth game-winning homer for the Arizona this season, and its seven-game winning streak is currently the longest in the majors.

"It's nice to win a game when you have a seven-run lead and the other team, a quality team that is the Atlanta Braves, came back and tied it up," Clark said. "It's good to come away with a win on nights like tonight."

The Atlanta Braves, who were no-hit for 4 1/3 innings - rallied from a seven-run deficit, but lost their third straight.

Leading off the 11th, Clark hit a 2-2 pitch from Wilfredo Ledezma (0-2), the Braves sixth pitcher, 400 feet to left to end the game. It came on the heels of Eric Byrnes' game-winning blast in the ninth on Thursday night.

Reliever Edgar Gonzalez (4-2) pitched two perfect innings to earn the victory for Arizona.

The Diamondbacks needed the heroics after lackadaisical play caused them to lose the lead. Leading, 7-6, in the bottom of the ninth, Arizona closer Jose Valverde blew just his fourth save opportunity in 35 chances, allowing Willie Harris to bloop a single on a 3-2 pitch, tying the game at 7-7.

"That's not the way you draw it up," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "That's for sure. I mean, a 7-0 lead, you have got to feel pretty secure. I mean that's a good offensive club but we have to be able to shut it down a little better."

"We played a great ballgame, we just didn't get any starting pitching," Braves manager Bobby Cox said.

"The bullpen was great until the last at-bat."

It happened after Valverde walked pinch hitter Yunel Escobar with two out. While no one was looking, Escobar stole second as neither middle infielder covered the bag while Valverde was wandering off the rubber.

"I saw him take off," first baseman Clark said. "And I'm yelling and the crowd is yelling and nobody was hearing anything. It was a gutsy call because if he gets thrown out, the game is over and everybody is looking at him sideways."

Melvin spread the blame around.

"A little bit of everybody's fault," Melvin said. "I think Jose would have been able to get him had we been covering. We had our heads down in the middle of the field."

After throwing three straight balls to Harris, Valverde, who had converted his last 10 save opportunities, got the count full before Harris punched a single into short left-center field out of the reach of diving shortstop Stephen Drew.

The Diamondbacks' debacle wasted a good effort from starter Yusmeiro Petit.

Petit, making his sixth career start, pitched 4 1/3 innings of no-hit ball before Atlanta finally got to him by scoring four runs on six hits over the next 1 1/3 innings.

The Diamondbacks had spotted Petit a 6-0 lead in the second inning, highlighted by two-run home runs by Stephen Drew and Byrnes.

Atlanta starter Jo-Jo Reyes also gave up a pair of doubles to Chris Snyder and Orlando Hudson immediately before the homers.

Chris Young, who went 2-for-3, added a solo shot in the fourth to give Arizona a 7-0 advantage.

Reyes, in his fourth career start since being called up July 3, gave up seven runs on seven hits, all but one of the extra-base variety over four innings.

But the Braves rallied with a pair of runs in the fifth and four more in the sixth.

Julio Franco led the charge with a two-run double and a run-scoring single, going 2-for-4.

"It's good that we came back," Franco said. "But we wanted to win the ballgame. You come back from 7-0 you want to win the ballgame."

After allowing Edgar Renteria to reach on an error by Drew on the second batter of the game, Petit retired the next 12 batters. However, he then gave a single to Jeff Francoeur, a triple to Kelly Johnson and a single to Julio Franco, allowing the Braves to cut the lead to 7-2.

In the sixth, Renteria singled and then Petit allowed back-to-back ground-rule doubles to Andruw Jones and Brian McCann to get Atlanta to within 7-4.

Relieving Petit in the sixth, Juan Cruz allowed a two-run double down the right field line to Franco, cutting the lead to 7-6.

"I'm seeing the ball better at the plate," Franco said. "I'm not satisfied because we lost the ballgame. It's about winning and climbing in the standings."

McCann, who doubled in two runs during a four-run sixth, was robbed of an extra-base hit in the eighth when center fielder Young made a leaping grab, banging into the wall more than 400 feet from home plate.

"We're up by one run so you feel like you have to get every ball that's hit out there," Young said. "I went all out for it. I didn't think too much about the wall if I hit the wall, I hit the wall happen to come up a little short."

In the seventh, Brandon Lyon got Renteria to strike out and then Snyder threw out Harris trying to steal second to keep the lead intact.

National League leading hitter Chipper Jones, back in the starting lineup after straining his groin in San Francisco on Wednesday, was held hitless on Friday, going 0-for-5.








  • NL
    FINAL 11
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    ATLANTA 0 0 0 0 2 4 0 0 1
    ARIZONA 0 6 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
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    ATLANTA 0 0 7 9 0
    ARIZONA 0 1 8 11 1 (FINAL 11)

    BATTERIES: ATL

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    AT ARIZONA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY TONY CLARK (10) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    11TH OFF WILFREDO LEDEZMA.
    FINAL SCORE: ARIZONA 8, ATLANTA 7

    Braves vs. DiamondbacksJul 28 1:21 AM
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    AT ARIZONA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY WILLIE HARRIS SCORED YUNEL ESCOBAR.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, W HARRIS ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 7
    ARIZONA 7 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: E RENTERIA (.333, 1-FOR-4)

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    AT ARIZONA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JULIO FRANCO SCORED BRIAN MCCANN AND KELLY
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    SITUATION: 4 RUNS IN, J FRANCO ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 6
    ARIZONA 7 TOP, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: C PARONTO (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

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    AT ARIZONA - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND RULE DOUBLE BY BRIAN MCCANN SCORED EDGAR RENTERIA
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    AT ARIZONA - SCORING UPDATE
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    Braves vs. DiamondbacksJul 27 10:56 PM


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    AT ARIZONA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY CHRIS YOUNG (17) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN THE
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    AT ARIZONA - SCORING UPDATE
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    AT ARIZONA - SCORING UPDATE
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    AT ARIZONA - SCORING UPDATE
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    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 0, ARIZONA 2
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    Braves vs. DiamondbacksJul 27 10:15 PM
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