The Arizona Diamondbacks are riding their longest winning streak of the season.
It’s been nearly six years since they posted three consecutive victories against the Philadelphia Phillies.
They’ll try to change that Saturday night against Cliff Lee who will make his second career start in Phoenix.
Undefeated since a 1-5 skid, Arizona (21-15) is looking to notch its longest win streak since a run of seven in a row Aug. 9-16, 2011. Miguel Montero dropped to the eighth spot, hit a go-ahead solo homer in the eighth inning to help the Diamondbacks complete a 3-2 come-from-behind victory Friday.
“It was huge for us,” said manager Kirk Gibson, whose team is tied with San Francisco atop the NL West.
Arizona had lost six of eight to the Phillies (16-21) heading into this four-game set, but with back-to-back one-run wins, it can make it three straight in this matchup for the first time since a three-game sweep in Philadelphia from May 28-30, 2007.
A former Cy Young Award winner stands in the way of that happening. Lee’s only start in Arizona came April 25, 2011, when he struck out 12 in seven innings of a 4-0 loss. That was one of the left-hander’s five career losses in 24 starts versus West opponents.
Lee (3-2, 3.26 ERA) won his 12th game against a team from that division with eight strong innings in Monday’s 6-2 victory in San Francisco.
“The normal Cliff Lee. He’s good, man,” Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro said. “He keeps throwing strikes, using the corners. You just try to get him out of his rhythm when he misses, and he doesn’t miss that much. He has great command of all his pitches.”
Arizona’s Trevor Cahill (2-3, 2.80) might need that Saturday, as he has the lowest run-support average on the team at 3.20. The right-hander, though, had some room for error in a 9-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday when he threw seven innings of two-run ball.
“Not as good as last start (eight innings in a 2-1 loss to San Francisco on April 30),” Cahill said, “but I think the biggest thing was, I was able to make pitches when I had to.”
The right-hander is 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA in three starts against Philadelphia.
Cahill will take on a Phillies team which has been held to six runs and 19 hits during a three-game skid. That comes after Philadelphia opened its seven-game trip with 22 combined hits in a pair of 6-2 wins over the Giants.
Howard is 0 for 5 off Cahill and Jimmy Rollins 0 for 4. Rollins, though, finished 2 for 5 on Friday with a leadoff homer - the Phillies’ 14th straight solo shot - after going 0 for 19 in his previous seven games versus Arizona.
Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is hitting .172 in 10 games versus Philadelphia, his lowest batting average against any team he’s played more than three times. Goldschmidt’s batting average at home has dipped to .231 with an 0-for-5 effort the last two nights after hitting four homers with nine RBIs in a three-game sweep at Los Angeles.
He has two hits - both homers - in six at-bats off Lee, who is 3-1 with a 3.50 ERA in five starts versus Arizona.
Arizona can win a season-best third in a row at home.