After winning just once in his last five starts, Andy Benes handcuffed the Phillies, striking out 10 in 6 2/3 innings, and the Arizona Diamondbacks battered Philadelphia's Curt Schilling for three home runs in an 8-2 victory yesterday. Benes improved to 15-6 lifetime against the Phillies in 25 career starts and has a 2.81 earned run average at Veterans Stadium.
"I've always pitched well in this ballpark," Benes said. "When you pitch well somewhere, it gives you that extra confidence."
Jay Bell, Matt Williams and Erubiel Durazo homered for the Diamondbacks, who took over the NL lead with 146 home runs. The club has won eight of 11, and increased its lead in the NL West to 4 1/2 games over the Giants. The Phillies' four-game winning streak was snapped.
Benes (7-10) survived a shaky first. Mixing in a crisp slider and an effective change-up along with a solid fastball, Benes allowed two runs -- one earned -- and five hits.
"I threw a few more fastballs than I have in my last couple of starts but it really helped set up the off-speed stuff," Benes said. "I was able to stay aggressive and found good results because of it."
Arizona is depending on Benes to have a big second half. He responded with a 7-2 record in his last nine starts last season, including a 3-0 mark and 0.47 ERA in September.
"We all know what it means for him to pitch like that for the rest of the season," Arizona Manager Buck Showalter said. "He has a track record of being a big second-half pitcher and we hope that string continues."
Schilling (14-5) hadn't pitched in 14 days, missing one start with a strained right biceps muscle and a second when his wife, Shonda, was hospitalized. He allowed eight runs -- seven earned -- and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked three.
The lack of work appeared to hurt Schilling early as Arizona collected four hits and three runs in the first inning. "I was a little stiff at first but after I got loose after a couple of batters," Schilling said. "It wasn't as much as a problem as I thought it might be.
"I felt good. There was no pain at all. I made three big mistakes and a couple of little ones."
ASTROS 10, CUBS 4: In Chicago, Russ Johnson had a career-high six RBI and Carl Everett hit two homers to support Scott Elarton. Johnson, who also had a career-high four hits, hit a two-run single in the third, a two-run double in the fourth and RBI singles in the eighth and ninth.
MARLINS 4, ROCKIES 1: In Miami, Brian Meadows pitched seven innings and Kevin Millar hit a tie-breaking two-run homer. The Marlins right-hander threw 99 pitches despite a blister on the middle finger of his right hand that has bothered him for more than a month.
"It wasn't bleeding; it was just raw," Florida Manager John Boles said. "I don't think there's any blood left in the tip of that finger. He gets the red badge of courage today."
PIRATES 3, CARDINALS 1: In Pittsburgh, Francisco Cordova held St. Louis to a run over 7 2/3 innings, preventing Kent Bottenfield from becoming the majors' first 16-game winner.
"He's back to the Francisco Cordova we're used to," Pirates Manager Gene Lamont said.
BRAVES 15, GIANTS 4: Gerald Williams set a career high with his 11th homer and also had five RBI as host Atlanta, after falling behind 3-0 in the first, rebounded to rout San Francisco.
"That guy has been igniting us in the leadoff spot," Brian Jordan said of Williams. "He's setting the table for us and picking the team up."
"We're not doing anything right -- pitching, hitting, fielding," the Giants' Charlie Hayes said. "I guess that's why we're losing."
BREWERS 6, REDS 4: Host Milwaukee scored four runs against the major leagues' best bullpen to overcome a two-run deficit and beat Cincinnati, ending the Brewers' six-game losing streak.
DODGERS 7, METS 6: Craig Counsell's two-out double in the top of the ninth helped visiting Los Angeles overcome a four-run deficit to earn the win.
EXPOS 3, PADRES 1: Orlando Cabrera homered for the second straight game to lead Montreal before the Expos' second-largest home crowd of the season. A crowd of 25,104 took advantage of a $5 ticket promotion.