After struggling on the road most of the season, the Arizona Diamondbacks are playing well away from home at the right time to stay alive in the NL playoff race.
The surging Diamondbacks try for their fourth consecutive road victory and overall as they continue their series with the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.
After taking two of three at Colorado, Arizona (79-77) won 4-2 at St. Louis on Monday night as Brandon Webb earned his 22nd victory to help the Diamondbacks move within two games of the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.
“We’re still going to take it day by day, but we’re playing with some confidence,” Webb said.
Arizona, 34-44 on the road, had lost a franchise-high 11 in a row away from home before winning a pair at Coors Field over the weekend. After playing three more at Busch Stadium, the Diamondbacks, winners of seven of eight overall, close the regular season at home versus the Rockies.
On Monday, Stephen Drew went 3-for-4 with a double and home run for Arizona to become the third shortstop in major league history with 40 doubles, 10 triples and 20 homers in a season.
“I don’t look at stats until the end of the season,” Drew said. “It’s just a good feeling to get 20 but it’s also a good feeling to get the win. We’re coming down to the wire.”
Drew is batting .395 (17-for-43) with five doubles, four homers and seven RBIs in his last 10 games and is 10-for-18 with two homers against St. Louis this season.
Randy Johnson (10-9, 3.99 ERA) takes the mound for Arizona after failing to earn a decision in his last five starts. He has a 3.23 ERA during that span and has pitched well in his last two outings, allowing two runs in 13 innings.
The 45-year-old gave up one run and eight hits in seven innings of a 3-2 win over San Francisco on Thursday.
“He felt like he didn’t have his best fastball and found a different way to do it,” said Arizona manager Bob Melvin of Johnson, whose last decision was a loss at Houston on Aug. 17, while his most recent victory came at Colorado on Aug. 12.
The left-hander is 6-6 with a 3.91 ERA in 14 starts versus the Cardinals and yielded five runs in 3 2-3 innings of Arizona’s 8-6 win over them on Sept. 1.
St. Louis counters with Kyle Lohse (14-6, 3.76) as he attempts to set a career high for wins after posting his first victory since Aug. 1.
Lohse allowed two earned runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 5-4 win at Cincinnati on Thursday in his first appearance since serving a five-game suspension for throwing near the head of Reds pitcher Edinson Volquez.
“It feels good to win,” said Lohse, who was 0-3 with a 4.01 ERA in his previous seven starts. “It’s been a while.”
The right-hander is 1-1 with a 3.27 ERA in five starts versus the Diamondbacks and allowed five hits in six scoreless innings of a 4-3 loss to them on Sept. 3.
“It’s tough, nobody likes to lose,” infielder Aaron Miles said. “It seems like we can’t get any of the breaks to go our way.”
Albert Pujols went 0-for-2 with two walks Monday and is 2-for-23 in his last seven games, but is hitting .421 (8-for-19) with three home runs and nine RBIs against Johnson.