Diamondbacks-Mets Preview

The Associated Press

The Arizona Diamondbacks just proved that they could hit Matt Harvey.

That could go a long way in building their confidence.

Arizona can end a mostly dismal 10-game road trip in positive fashion Thursday as it meets the New York Mets.

The Diamondbacks (43-41) entered Wednesday in an offensive slump, having averaged 2.7 runs over their previous nine games while going 1-8. In two losses at Citi Field to begin this week, they scored five runs while stranding 19 baserunners.

On Wednesday, however, the Diamondbacks touched Harvey for nine hits and five runs, the most any team has scored off the young phenom this season. They handed Harvey his second loss and pushed his ERA to 2.27.

"To beat one of the best obviously feels good," outfielder Cody Ross said. "Tonight we had a really good approach as a team."

Ross, batting .400 in his last 14 games against the Mets, hit a three-run homer off Harvey in the sixth inning that put Arizona ahead for good.

"It was a ton of energy when I came into the dugout and sort of a shot in the arm that maybe we needed," said Ross, who has two home runs in his last nine at-bats after hitting three over his first 215.

Another positive sign Wednesday was two players who recently came back from injuries each going 2 for 5. Aaron Hill, who returned June 25 after missing two-plus months with a broken hand, has five hits in this series. Eric Chavez had been 2 for 13 since returning from a strained right oblique before contributing a single and an RBI double Wednesday.

Miguel Montero, who entered the game hitting .200 since June 18, went 2 for 2 with two walks to reach in every plate appearance for the first time this season.

Ian Kennedy (3-4, 5.36 ERA) certainly wouldn't mind getting that kind of help from the batting order. Arizona has lost the right-hander's last four starts, providing him with seven runs of support.

Kennedy was as much to blame his last time out, though he escaped without a decision in an 11-5 loss to Atlanta on Saturday. He tied a season high with four walks and surrendered four runs over 4 1-3 innings.

Kennedy has surrendered home runs in six straight games, the worst such stretch of his career. His 15 home runs allowed are fourth-most in the NL.

However, Kennedy has won all four starts he's made against the Mets while posting a 3.70 ERA.

He'll face a resurgent Dillon Gee (6-7, 4.60), who is 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA in his last six starts. His latest victory came Saturday, limiting Washington to one run in six innings of a 5-1 win.

In two home starts against Arizona, Gee has fared well, limiting the Diamondbacks to two earned runs over six innings in each start. He has held several of Arizona's hitters in check, including Martin Prado (4 of 20) and Gerardo Parra (1 of 7).

Perhaps the good news for Gee is that his speed tends to top out in the low 90s, something Arizona hasn't faced much lately - especially after facing the hard-throwing Harvey.

"Lately we've been seeing a lot of 96, 97 mph pitchers," Montero said. "When we see a guy throwing 88, we don't feel as comfortable apparently."

New York (35-46) has recorded double-digit hits in three straight games, only the second time it has accomplished that feat this season.

"I think anytime you start to swing the bats better, it's infectious," manager Terry Collins told the Mets' official website. "It's like any of the other parts of the game. When somebody starts to chip in, everybody wants to be a part of it."

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