Atlanta (23-23) at Arizona (20-27)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Phoenix, AZ
Temp: 60° F
  • Game info: 9:40 pm EDT Thu May 28, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Atlanta Braves started a seven-game road trip by getting swept. They hope Derek Lowe(notes) taking the mound and a visit to Arizona could be just what they need to halt the slide.

Lowe looks to move into a tie for the NL wins lead Thursday night when he starts opposite Dan Haren(notes) in the opener of a four-game series with the Diamondbacks.

The Braves (23-23) fell 6-3 at San Francisco on Wednesday to get swept in a three-game set for only the second time this season. They managed just five runs in the series while getting held to 16 hits, including five in the finale, after winning five of their previous six games with a .308 average and 35 runs.

Atlanta, which entered the trip with a 12-8 record away from home, is looking to avoid losing four consecutive road games for the first time since dropping five straight from Aug. 24-Sept. 1.

Lowe (6-2, 3.45 ERA), who turns 36 on Monday, has won four of his five road starts. He now looks to match New York’s Johan Santana(notes) and Bronson Arroyo(notes) of Cincinnati for the league lead in victories.

The All-Star right-hander won again Saturday, allowing two runs and five hits in 7 1-3 innings, while helping himself with two hits and driving in the go-ahead run in a 4-3 win over Toronto.

“It starts with starting pitching,” Lowe said. “You’ve got to be able to keep your team in the game.”

He’s certainly done that this year, allowing two runs or less in seven of his 10 starts. Lowe is 5-1 with a 3.54 ERA in his last six outings.

He’s 4-1 with a 1.91 ERA in his last six starts against the Diamondbacks (20-27), winning his last two while yielding six hits in 14 scoreless innings.

Though these teams split a two-game set at Atlanta from May 15-16, the Braves have won four of the last five meetings in Phoenix, hitting .344 with five homers and 43 runs.

The Diamondbacks have lost seven of nine at home and are 10-17 overall at Chase Field.

Haren (3-4, 2.57) also has been struggling a bit. He’s 0-1 with a 4.95 ERA in his last three starts after winning three straight while posting a 1.13 ERA.

Haren was hit hard Saturday, serving up a career-high four homers while allowing five runs in seven innings of an 8-7, 11-inning win at Oakland.

He’s 2-1 with a 6.88 ERA in three career starts against Atlanta, losing his last one at Chase Field on Aug. 9 when he allowed six runs and 10 hits in 5 1-3 innings of an 11-4 defeat.

Arizona is coming off its third loss in four games overall, 8-5 to San Diego on Wednesday despite Justin Upton(notes) staying hot.

Upton is batting .447 (17 for 38) in his last nine games. He had his fourth multihit effort in five games Wednesday, going 3 for 4 with a two-run triple in Arizona’s 8-5 loss to San Diego.

“Justin was locked in and battled,” Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said. “He takes full control of his at-bats, and that’s good to see.”

The Diamondbacks are fourth in the NL West, 12 1/2 games behind the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers - the most they’ve trailed in the standings since finishing 42 games out in 2004.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Lowe Tex vs. D. Haren ChC
15-10 Record 14-10
4.67 ERA 3.14
111 K 223
63 BB 38
1.52 WHIP 1.00


Thursday, May 28