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NL: Ailing D'backs staying home

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 30, 2002

PHOENIX -- Despite injuries to Luis Gonzalez, Craig Counsell and others, the Diamondbacks keep finding players to step up at key times.

Chad Moeller homered twice and drove in six as Arizona clinched homefield advantage for the first round of the playoffs with an 11-8 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.

"That's the way this team has been the two years I've been here," first baseman Mark Grace said. "Every time we've had must-win games, we go out there and we win them, and I'm real glad we don't have to get on a plane."

Arizona opens the postseason Tuesday night against Central champion St. Louis at Bank One Ballpark.

If the Diamondbacks had lost this game, the best-of-five series would have started at St. Louis.

The locker room had a cluttered look as players stepped around and over suitcases and baggage they won't need until Friday.

"Homefield advantage is always big," Moeller said. "No. 1, you get that last at-bat. That's the biggest thing; you get that one last chance. On the road, you don't have that."

Arizona took an 11-3 lead into the eighth and held off the Rockies.

Moeller went 4-for-4 and Junior Spivey and Felix Jose also homered for the defending World Series champions. The Diamondbacks won their final four games of the season to win the West and finish with a one-game edge over the Cardinals. Had the teams ended with the same record, St. Louis held the tiebreaker.

GIANTS 7, ASTROS 0: Ryan Jensen and five relievers combined on a five-hitter as host San Francisco denied Roy Oswalt his 20th victory and head to the playoffs on an eight-game winning streak.

A day after the Giants clinched the wild card and a division series meeting with Atlanta, Barry Bonds and every regular San Francisco starter watched the season finale from the bench. They'll open the playoffs Wednesday at Turner Field.

CARDINALS 4, BREWERS 0: Edgar Renteria's one-out double in the eighth drove in the first run of the game, and host St. Louis held on.

Renteria led the league's shortstops with 82 RBIs (he also had one as a pinch-hitter) and batted .372 with runners in scoring position. Overall, he hit .305.

METS 6, BRAVES 1: Mike Piazza homered and drove in three as host New York ended its worst season in six by avoiding a four-game sweep.

The Mets finished last for the first time since 1993 and had their most losses since going 71-91 in 1996.

EXPOS 7, REDS 2: In what might have been their final game in Montreal, the Expos won after a late delay caused by fans upset that a check-swing call went against Vladimir Guerrero.

Guerrero, needing one home run to become baseball's fourth player with 40 homers and 40 stolen bases in a season, was called out by first-base umpire Alfonso Marquez in the eighth. The crowd of 25,178 showered the outfield with debris.

MARLINS 4, PHILLIES 3 (10): Luis Castillo went 3-for-4, stole three bases to give him 48, twice robbed Philadelphia of hits at second base and scored the winning run for host Florida. Consecutive singles in the fourth by Florida's Derrek Lee, Mike Redmond and Andy Fox tied it it 3.

PADRES 2, DODGERS 0: Rookie Oliver Perez ended a nine-start winless streak, and visiting San Diego won behind a lineup featuring six rookies.

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