Pittsburgh (69-86) at Arizona (89-66)

  • Game info: 3:40 pm EDT Wed Sep 21, 2011
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Arizona has not hit the ball well of late, but it’s still moving closer to clinching the NL West title.

The Diamondbacks hope to take another step toward a division crown and avoid their first losing home series in more than a month Wednesday as they wrap up a three-game set with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Arizona (89-66) averaged 5.1 runs while winning 18 of 21, but since then has put up just 2.0 runs per game and batted .212 while dropping four of six. After hanging on for a 1-0 win in Monday’s series opener versus Pittsburgh, the Diamondbacks fell 5-3 on Tuesday.

Despite the defeat, the Diamondbacks’ magic number for winning the West dropped to three after San Francisco lost at Los Angeles. Arizona, which has Thursday off, could clinch the division this weekend when the reigning World Series champion Giants come to town.

“It’s not like we’re trying to make outs,” shortstop Willie Bloomquist(notes) said. “We’re up there trying to get base hits and push runs across.

“The bottom line is at the end of the day we’re still in a pretty good position. People just need to relax a little bit. We know what we’re doing. We’re playing hard. We’re going to be fine.”

Chris Young and Gerardo Parra(notes) each had two hits Tuesday for Arizona, which has won 16 of 19 at home since dropping two of three to the Dodgers from Aug. 5-7, their last losing series at Chase Field.

Young is batting .233 on the season, but is 6 for 14 in his last five games. He’s also 10 for 30 in his last eight versus Pittsburgh.

The Diamondbacks hope to break out of their offensive funk against Pittsburgh’s Ross Ohlendorf(notes) (1-2, 6.82 ERA), who is coming off the best outing of his abbreviated season.

Making his fifth start since missing almost five months with a strained shoulder, Ohlendorf allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings and also hit a three-run homer in a 6-2 win at Dodger Stadium on Thursday.

“It’s been a while since I’ve pitched like that,” said Ohlendorf, who yielded six runs in two innings in his previous outing versus Florida. “It’s by far the best I’ve felt since I got hurt the first time. I feel like I’m finally getting back to what I’m capable of doing.”

The right-hander is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts against the Diamondbacks - both in 2009.

Derrek Lee(notes) hit a two-run homer and Pedro Alvarez(notes) added a solo shot Tuesday as the Pirates (69-86) snapped a four-game skid and won for only the third time in 12 contests. Despite missing almost a month with a broken wrist, Lee has hit .342 with six homers and 16 RBIs in 21 games since being acquired by the Pirates from Baltimore at the trade deadline.

Trying to win its first series in Arizona since 2005, Pittsburgh will get its first look at Arizona rookie Wade Miley(notes) (3-2, 4.24), who makes his seventh career start.

The left-hander allowed two runs in six innings of a 2-0 loss at San Diego on Friday.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Ohlendorf CIN vs. W. Miley SEA
1-3 Record 4-2
8.15 ERA 4.50
27 K 25
15 BB 18
1.94 WHIP 1.65


Wednesday, Sep 21