for this game

Surprise starter Owings shuts down Pirates

Sep 27, 2007 - 8:39 PM By Chris Adamski PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) - Surprise starter Micah Owings pitched 6 1/3 innings of shutout ball to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to an 8-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday afternoon.

Owings was not told he was going to replace scheduled starter Brandon Webb until less than three hours before the start of the game.

Stephen Drew went 3-for-5 with a home run, two runs scored and three RBIs and Tony Clark homered for the Diamondbacks, who snapped a three-game losing streak and significantly strengthened their playoff hopes with three games remaining in the season.

"Right now, the most important thing is just to win ballgames," Owings said. "Anytime I'm given the opportunity to help us do that, I'm going to jump at it. It just came a day earlier than I expected this time."

Arizona (89-70) holds a 1 1/2-game lead over the San Diego Padres (87-71) in the NL West and is 2 1/2 games up on the third-place Colorado Rockies (86-72) and the Philadelphia Phillies (86-72), against which the Diamondbacks could be battling for a wild card spot. Each of those teams play games Thursday night.

After the game, the Diamondbacks fly to Denver for a three-game series against the Rockies that opens Friday night.

It's hard to tell whether Owings (8-8) was better on the mound or at the plate. He allowed four hits and struck out four while pitching into the seventh - he was only removed from the game due to an 18-minute rain delay - and also went 4-for-4 with a run and three RBIs to raise his batting average to .339.

"He was a one-man wrecking crew," Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said. "He pitched a great game on short notice and put together at-bats like we've seen him do all year. He's a very, very tough kid, and a guy that can handle something like that.

"He's a baseball player. If you were to go to him in December and tell him he'd be in a big league game, he'd be fired up about it. He just likes to play the game."

The entire game was played under the specter of rain - it drizzled through much of the pregame warmups and during portions of the contest after Wednesday night's game was delayed 59 minutes. Therefore, the Diamondbacks elected not to start their ace, Webb, as planned. Webb will instead pitch in Colorado on Friday, the day Owings was originally scheduled to start.

"I didn't want to go out there, start, throw two innings and then get rained out and be either done for the season or come back on a short day," Webb said. "I'd rather come back tomorrow and throw a regular start. It worked out real well."

It was the second consecutive spectacular start for Owings, who tossed a complete-game shutout against San Francisco on September 18. That ended a stretch in which Owings had won only one of his previous 15 starts. Owings has a 15 1/3-inning scoreless streak.

Drew, the second batter of the game, crushed a 2-1 pitch from Pirates starter John Van Benschoten deep to right for his 12th home run of the season.

"When we got the board first, I think everybody kind of settled down a little bit," Drew said. "Now it's, more or less, just keep going out there playing everyday, and everything worked out well today."

Arizona added three more runs in the second on an RBI double by Owings and RBI singles by Drew and Eric Byrnes, ending a quick afternoon for Van Benschoten. He allowed four runs on six hits and two walks with one strikeout in two innings of work.

Van Benschoten, a first-round pick of the Pirates in 2001, completes his season 0-7 with a 10.15 ERA in 17 appearances (14 starts).

"Obviously, not a very good day," Pittsburgh manager Jim Tracy said. "We didn't pitch well at the beginning, and we didn't play well. The momentum that we didn't create for ourselves in the early part of the game spilled over to their side."

Clark made it 5-0 when he led off the fifth with his 17th home run, to the deepest part of the park in left-center off of Tony Armas. Drew picked up his third RBI when he singled in Augie Ojeda in the sixth.

Owings drove in two more run with a double in the seventh to make it 8-0.

"It's a relief that, one, obviously we win a game here," Melvin said. "Two, we got the game in. We didn't get burned trying to hold Webb back.

"Winning that game, confidence-wise, we feel a lot better going in (to Denver)."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ARIZONA 1 3 0 0 1 1 2 0 0 8 12 0
    PITTSBURGH 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: ARI - MICAH OWINGS, TONY PENA (7TH), DUSTIN NIPPERT (8TH), YUSMEIRO
    PETIT (9TH) AND CHRIS SNYDER
    PIT - JOHN VAN BENSCHOTEN, TONY ARMAS (3RD), ROMULO
    SANCHEZ (6TH),

    Sep 27 3:32 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY MICAH OWINGS SCORED MARK REYNOLDS AND AUGIE
    OJEDA.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, M OWINGS ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ARIZONA 8
    PITTSBURGH 0 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR ARIZONA: C YOUNG (.236, 0-FOR-4)

    Diamondbacks vs. PiratesSep 27 2:37 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY STEPHEN DREW SCORED AUGIE OJEDA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, S DREW ON FIRST, M OWINGS ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ARIZONA 6
    PITTSBURGH 0 TOP, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR ARIZONA: E BYRNES (.288, 1-FOR-3, RBI)

    Diamondbacks vs. PiratesSep 27 2:19 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY TONY CLARK (17) TO CENTER WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 5TH OFF TONY ARMAS.
    CURRENT SCORE: ARIZONA 5, PITTSBURGH 0
    DUE UP FOR ARIZONA: M REYNOLDS (.281, 1-FOR-2)

    Diamondbacks vs. PiratesSep 27 1:59 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ERIC BYRNES SCORED STEPHEN DREW.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, E BYRNES ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ARIZONA 4
    PITTSBURGH 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR ARIZONA: T CLARK (.254, 0-FOR-0, BB)

    Diamondbacks vs. PiratesSep 27 1:09 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY STEPHEN DREW SCORED MICAH OWINGS.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, S DREW ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ARIZONA 3
    PITTSBURGH 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR ARIZONA: E BYRNES (.288, 0-FOR-1)

    Diamondbacks vs. PiratesSep 27 1:06 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY MICAH OWINGS SCORED AUGIE OJEDA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M OWINGS ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ARIZONA 2
    PITTSBURGH 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR ARIZONA: C YOUNG (.237, 0-FOR-1)

    Diamondbacks vs. PiratesSep 27 1:02 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ARIZONA 1 1 2 0
    PITTSBURGH 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: ARI - MICAH OWINGS
    PIT - JOHN VAN BENSCHOTEN

    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: N MORGAN (.289, 1 HR, 6 RBI)
    J WILSON (.295, 12 HR, 56 RBI)
    A LAROCHE (.275, 21 HR,

    Diamondbacks vs. PiratesSep 27 12:46 PM