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D-backs leave home fans with a win

D-backs leave home fans with a win

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PHOENIX -- In a season of frustration, the D-backs gave the home fans a chance to cheer Sunday afternoon in the final game at Chase Field for 2009.

Chad Tracy came within a triple of hitting for the cycle and Augie Ojeda drove in three runs as the D-backs beat the Padres, 7-4, in front of 30,018.

The D-backs drew more than 2.1 million fans this year and finished with a 36-45 record at home.

"Our fans responded today," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. "They were loud the last couple of nights, and we gave them something to cheer for. You find that fans feed off the energy of the players, and vice versa. It was a good atmosphere."

The bad news for the D-backs is that they no longer have any games remaining against the Padres, whose number they've had over the past few weeks.

The D-backs have won just two series in their past seven, and both came against the Padres -- the first at PETCO Park 10 days ago. By contrast, San Diego has won eight of its past 10 series, with the lone losses being to Arizona.

"I'm happy we won the series," Hinch said. "We've talked for a couple of weeks now [that] to finish up the season strong, we want to win series. We've been one of the few teams to beat them in series recently. They've been a hot team. I was proud of our guys for standing up and coming from behind. We're searching for small little morale builders that can gear us towards a more positive 2010, and winning series does that."

The Padres got things started offensively against Billy Buckner in the fourth inning, as they scored a run thanks to an error by right fielder Justin Upton and on a two-run homer by Adrian Gonzalez.

"It was a tough blow when Gonzalez hit the homer," Hinch said. "Even though we had outplayed them, we felt like we were behind for a lot."

The D-backs answered with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI double by Ojeda and a run-scoring single by Buckner.

"It's always nice to get a hit," Buckner said. "You don't expect to get hits, but when [you do], it feels good."

The D-backs took the lead in the sixth when Tracy homered for the second time in two days and Stephen Drew drove home a pair with a double to left-center field.

Tracy's homer underwent video review by the umpire crew after San Diego manager Bud Black argued that a fan had reached over the wall to touch the ball.

Tracy went into his final at-bat of the game in the seventh just a triple shy of the cycle.

"I thought about it, but, honestly, the best chance I had at a triple is if they didn't call that a home run," Tracy joked.

It was a nice two days for Tracy, who drilled a pinch-hit grand slam to win Saturday's game. It is all but certain that his $7 million option next year will not be picked up by the club, so Sunday likely was his final game at Chase Field wearing a D-backs uniform.

"He swung the bat well last night and then carried that momentum into today," Hinch said. "He kick-started us a couple of times. Both he and Augie were able to produce, and we didn't have to rely so heavily on [Justin] Upton, [Miguel] Montero and [Mark] Reynolds. And that's a balanced offense that we sometimes have, and it's fun when we do."

Ojeda finished with a pair of doubles to go along with a bunt single in the sixth.

"I had some good at-bats today, saw the bat well, had some good swings and it was a good game overall," Ojeda said.

The offense made a winner of Buckner, who has gotten the chance to make regular starts thanks to the deadline trade of Jon Garland and is trying to position himself to win a spot in next year's rotation.

"I knew it was a big opportunity, and I wanted to make the best out of it," Buckner said. "There's still work to be done. I've got one more start, and I want to continue what we've got going here."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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