Phoenix These Arizona Diamondbacks are no desert mirage, and the Chicago Cubs are on the brink of despair once again.
Rookie Chris Young hit a three-run homer and Stephen Drew tripled in two more in an 8-4 victory Thursday night that put the Diamondbacks ahead 2-0 in the best-of-five NL division series.
Unless they turn it around at Wrigley Field, the Cubs will make it 99 years and counting without a World Series title. The Billy Goat Curse would still reign.
Three years removed from a 111-loss season, the young Diamondbacks are one victory from the NL championship series. They can complete a sweep Saturday in Chicago, where Arizona will send Livan Hernandez to the mound against Rich Hill.
Eric Byrnes had an RBI triple for the Diamondbacks, the first team since the 1906 White Sox to have a league's best record and worst batting average.
They won yet again with timely hitting, solid starting pitching, sound defense and a strong bullpen.
Doug Davis gave up a two-run homer to Geovany Soto in the second, then settled in for three scoreless innings. The Arizona left-hander, acquired in the trade that sent Johnny Estrada to Milwaukee last offseason, allowed four runs and six hits in 52â3 innings overall. He struck out eight and walked four.
Davis also had an RBI sacrifice bunt. He left to a standing ovation, at least from the Diamondbacks' portion of a crowd that included a large share of Chicago fans.
However, reliever Juan Cruz promptly gave up a two-run double to pinch-hitter Daryle Ward, with both runs charged to Davis.
The Cubs' lefty starter, Ted Lilly, fared worse. He lasted just 31â3 innings, allowing six runs and seven hits.
The top four batters in the order - Alfonso Soriano, Ryan Theriot, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez - went a combined 4-for-19 with seven strikeouts.
The power outage at the top of the Chicago order began in the opener, with Jacque Jones batting second instead of Theriot. The Cubs' first four batters went a combined 1-for-16 with six strikeouts.
At least that was against Arizona ace Brandon Webb, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner. On Thursday night, the Cubs' top four struggled against Davis.