(Sports Network) - Two teams that are alive in both the division and wild
card races in the National League get together tonight when the Arizona
Diamondbacks visit PNC Park for the first of four games with the host
Arizona enters the game third in the NL's West Division, where it trails
first-place San Francisco by four games. The Diamondbacks are 6 1/2 games off
the pace of the Pirates in pursuit of the second of the league's two wild card
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, is 4 1/2 games behind front-running Cincinnati in the
NL Central after averting a sweep with a 6-2 defeat of the Reds on Sunday. The
Pirates lead St. Louis by 2 1/2 games for the second wild card.
On Sunday in Cincinnati, Pirates starter A.J. Burnett (14-3), who tossed a
one-hitter in his last outing, held the Reds to a pair of runs on three hits
and three walks while striking out seven in 8 2/3 innings.
Burnett has won four straight decisions and 13 of his last 14.
"Made some pitches when I needed to," Burnett said. "I got some quick outs
when I needed to and the boys jumped on them and gave me a few runs, makes you
go harder after that - shutdown innings."
Starling Marte delivered the decisive blow, a two-run triple in the fourth
inning. It was Marte's first career triple.
"They got us twice and we needed to come out of here with a W," Burnett said.
"I tried to do what I can out there and feed off my guys behind me and what
they're doing. We had a good day (Sunday) at the plate, made some great plays
and you feed off that. You go harder."
Andrew McCutchen blasted a solo home run in the ninth inning, his 23rd of the
season and first since July 17, a span which lasted 58 at-bats.
In Philadelphia, Ryan Howard notched a game-winning base hit in the ninth
inning and the Phillies took the rubber match of a three-game series against
the Diamondbacks, 5-4.
Trevor Cahill used a steady stream of sinkers to contain the Phillies'
hitters, but took a no-decision after holding Philadelphia to three runs on
six hits in seven frames. He fanned six and walked two.
Chris Johnson, Stephen Drew and Paul Goldschmidt homered for the Diamondbacks,
who lost their second straight game.
Arizona begins the set with the Pirates with second-year lefty Wade Miley,
who's won three of four starts since the All-Star break.
The 25-year-old was 9-5 heading into the midseason intermission and has since
come back with defeats of Cincinnati, Houston and the Los Angeles Dodgers
while allowing 24 hits and eight runs in 26 innings.
He was 4-2 in eight appearances - seven starts - in his initial major-league
experience late last season before beginning this year in the Diamondbacks'
His lone career meeting with the Pirates came on Sept. 21 last season and
ended in an 8-5 win after he allowed two runs on five hits with a walk and
three strikeouts in five innings.
Pittsburgh counters with veteran Canadian Erik Bedard, who was drafted by the
Baltimore Orioles when Miley was 12 years old.
Now 33, Bedard won five games in 14 decisions while splitting 2011 with
Seattle and Boston and has struggled in the National League with just five
wins in 20 starts with the Pirates.
He won his initial start after the All-Star break, 6-2, at Colorado on July
17, but has since dropped two verdicts to the Chicago Cubs - one home, one
away - while surrendering 10 runs on nine hits in 11 1/3 innings.
Bedard is 0-1 in two career meetings with Arizona and dropped that lone
decision on April 16 after giving up two runs on three hits in five innings of
a 5-1 Diamondbacks victory.
He's 2-4 at home this season with a 2.72 ERA in 49 2/3 innings.
The Diamondbacks have won 60 of 100 games between the teams since they began
playing in 1998, though Pittsburgh won two of three in their lone 2012 series
in Phoenix back in April.
The Sports Network