With each coming off complete-game victories, Kansas City’s Hochevar and Arizona’s Haren are also searching for a third straight winning decision Thursday night in the finale of a three-game series between the Royals and Diamondbacks at Kauffman Stadium.
Hochevar (2-2, 5.60 ERA), selected first overall in the 2006 draft, has won both starts since being recalled from Triple-A Omaha on June 6, and recorded his first career complete game Friday against visiting Cincinnati. The right-hander allowed three hits and walked one while tossing just 80 pitches in the 4-1 win.
Haren (5-4, 2.20) has stayed among the NL’s ERA leaders for most of this season, but hasn’t benefited as much as he should because of a struggling offense and bullpen.
The Diamondbacks have batted .245 this season, but after giving their right-hander an average of 2.7 runs through his first eight starts, they have averaged nearly 6.9 over his last five.
Arizona’s relievers, however, couldn’t hold on to leads in Haren’s starts at Los Angeles on June 2 and at San Diego five days later. Haren made sure the bullpen didn’t squander a seven-run lead Friday against visiting Houston when he completed his first career two-hitter in the 8-1 victory.
“Obviously, I want to win games,” Haren said. “I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t want to get the Ws by my name. But my job is to go out there and give the team the best chance to win.”
While searching for his third win in five starts, Haren will also try to improve to 8-0 in his last nine interleague starts and keep from losing one for the first time since June 19, 2006 against Colorado while with Oakland.
He’ll also try to help the Diamondbacks (28-38) win their first series since taking two of three from the A’s during their previous interleague matchup May 22-24.
Arizona snapped a four-game skid by matching its season high for runs scored with Wednesday’s 12-5 win. Stephen Drew(notes) hit a three-run triple during a five-run eighth inning, and Mark Reynolds(notes) hit a two-run homer in the seventh for his team-leading 18th.
Reynolds is batting .423 (11 for 25) with three homers and nine of his 47 RBIs—also a team-high—over the last seven games.
After scoring 35 runs while winning five of six, Kansas City (29-35) saw its four-game winning streak end as it managed only two runs over the first eight innings. The Royals, who had won five straight interleague games, scored three in their final at-bat, including Jose Guillen’s(notes) RBI single.
Guillen had three hits and drove in three runs, and is 8 of 16 with six RBIs over his last four games against Arizona.