09/23/07 2:12 AM ET
D-backs inch closer to division title
Webb stifles Dodgers to earn career-high 17th victory
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
On Saturday night, it was like turn back the clock night as 47,673 showed up to watch Brandon Webb and the D-backs beat the Dodgers, 6-2, and creep ever closer to locking up a postseason berth.
The win was the fourth straight for the D-backs, and combined with the Padres' loss to the Rockies, pushed Arizona's advantage in the National League West to 2 1/2 games with a scant seven games left on the schedule.
"That was great," D-backs manager Bob Melvin said of the near-capacity crowd. "I haven't felt anything like that since back in the days of '01 and '02. That really had quite the feel. Yesterday, pretty close, then today, all of a sudden, I kind of had that feeling like, 'Wow, I've been here before. I've felt this before.'"
The mostly sedona red-clad crowd had something to cheer about early as Chris Young hit a leadoff homer on the first pitch he saw from David Wells. The ball traveled an estimated 468 feet before landing in someone's dinner in the Friday's Front Row Sports Grill patio section located in the left-field upper deck.
"That's quite the lift right off the bat," Melvin said. "Hitting the first pitch almost out of the stadium."
The blast was the ninth leadoff homer of the year for Young, which ties him for the fifth-most in a single season. Alfonso Soriano set the Major League record with 13 in 2003.
The D-backs added another run in the first on Chris Snyder's run-scoring double, and one each in the second and third innings to grab a 4-0 lead.
The run in the third came when Mark Reynolds drove a 2-2 pitch over the wall in left, his 17th long ball of the year.
"Reynolds showed a little bit about his strength," Melvin said. "Off his front foot, [on a] ball that was almost on the ground, and he gets it out by a fairly decent margin, too."
Reynolds has been on a tear of late. The rookie, who began the year in Double-A, is 11-for-21 through the first five games of the homestand.
"He's seeing the ball better," Melvin said. "We've seen him get through struggles and swing the bat well again. So now, he kind of has an understanding at the big league level how they're going to pitch him, what adjustments he needs to make when he's struggling, and he's been phenomenal. I don't know where we are without him."
Webb (17-10) made the most of the lead as he held the Dodgers scoreless through the first six innings. The right-hander is known for his devastating sinker, but with that pitch lacking a little bit of bite, he instead relied on his curve and changeup.
Whatever the method, Webb was effective as he allowed just two runs before being lifted with one out in the seventh inning.
"In key situations when I need a strikeout or something, I could go with the offspeed pitches and get the strikeout," he said.
One of those times came in the sixth. Down 5-0, the Dodgers loaded the bases with two outs and Webb was able to get Andy LaRoche to strike out to end the inning, which once again brought the crowd to its feet.
"The crowd was great," said Webb, who set a new career high in wins. "They were in it from the first inning on today, really getting into it, and that lifts us up a little bit in tough situations and helps us out. I think we're feeling pretty good right now, and I think if we continue playing like we're playing, we'll be all right."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.