The Arizona Diamondbacks may not have been thrilled to make an extra trip for one makeup game, but they can’t complain about the result.
The Diamondbacks (36-34) look to record back-to-back victories for the first time in more than two weeks when they open a three-game interleague set with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (29-41) on Tuesday at Tropicana Field.
Arizona opened its seven-game road trip with three straight losses to Texas, before flying to Pittsburgh to make up a May 11 rainout on Monday, originally scheduled to be an off day.
Arizona let a four-run lead slip away in Pittsburgh, but rallied for a 5-4, 11-inning victory. It was just the team’s second win in 14 games.
“Any time there’s a win, it’s worth the flight,” said Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin, whose team trails the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego by a half-game for the NL West lead.
Johnny Estrada’s pinch-hit single scored the go-ahead run for Arizona and gave him a hit in six of his last seven games.
“I was up there trying to do what I could to get that run in and get us out of here,” said Estrada. “Those are the kind of wins that can catapult a team, and hopefully we can put a streak together.”
The Diamondbacks and Devil Rays are forever linked, as the franchises both began play as expansion teams in 1998. While Arizona has enjoyed its share of success—three division titles and the 2001 World Series crown—Tampa Bay has yet to record more than 70 wins in a season and has finished last in the AL East in seven of its previous eight seasons.
The Devil Rays swept Arizona in three games in 2004, however, the only time the two teams have met. This is Arizona’s first visit to Tropicana Field.
After ending a five-game losing streak, the Diamondbacks will try to win consecutive games for the first time since a four-game winning streak from June 1-4 when Miguel Batista (6-4, 4.68 ERA) takes the mound.
The right-hander went 3-0 from May 24-June 4 with a 2.49 ERA, but has lost his last two starts while posting an 8.71 ERA. He gave up four runs and 10 hits while striking out six over six innings in an 8-2 loss to San Francisco on Thursday.
Batista is 4-3 with a 2.84 in 19 career appearances, including three starts, versus Tampa Bay.
He will be opposed by Mark Hendrickson (3-7, 3.62), who is coming off one of his best starts of the season. The left-hander held Detroit to no earned runs and just three hits over nine innings, but did not receive a decision in a 5-1, 12-inning victory on Wednesday.
“I was in the moment the entire time,” said Hendrickson, who took a one-hitter into the ninth inning. “Even in the ninth, when I gave up the hit and the run, it didn’t faze me.”
The strong outing snapped a four-game personal losing streak. Hendrickson allowed just one run and five hits over six innings in his only career appearance versus Arizona, a 2-1 victory on June 20, 2004.
Tampa Bay has played well in interleague matchups this season, going 5-1. The lone defeat came on Sunday, when the Devil Rays squandered a three-run lead and lost 8-5 at Philadelphia.
It was the major league-high 25th game Tampa Bay lost in which it led this season.
Arizona shortstop Craig Counsell missed Monday’s game with a slight concussion, but should be back in the lineup on Tuesday.
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