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National League Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, August 4th (All times eastern)
Arizona Diamondbacks (55-51) at Philadelphia Phillies (47-59), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Arizona - Joe Saunders (5-7, 3.62) Philadelphia - Roy Halladay (4-6, 4.33)
(Sports Network) - The Arizona Diamondbacks would probably like to remain under the radar, but their recent success won't let that happen.
The streaking ballclub has been one of the hottest in the majors over the past few weeks and targets another series win tonight in the second portion of a three-game set against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
Arizona posted its fourth straight win and 11th in 14 tries with Friday's 4-2 win in the series opener. Jason Kubel and Justin Upton both homered, while starting pitcher Ian Kennedy allowed two runs in six innings for his 10th win of the season (10-8).
"He gave us six innings, two runs," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said of Kennedy's start. "He gave his team a chance to win."
Takashi Saito, David Hernandez and J.J. Putz combined to throw three scoreless innings of relief. Putz posted his 20th save in the process and has converted his last 11.
The Diamondbacks, who swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in three games before heading to south Philly, are 4-0 on a 10-game road trip and remained two games behind San Francisco for the NL West lead. The Dodgers are just one-half game off the pace in the division standings.
Chris Johnson is 6-for-14 with two homers and eight RBI since joining the D- backs via trade with Houston. Miguel Montero has reached base safely in 25 of his last 36 games, and leads all catchers with 64 RBI this season.
Joe Saunders draws the start for the D-backs tonight and he is only 1-3 with a 3.94 earned run average in his last five starts. Saunders, who has lasted at least six innings in his past seven starts, allowed four runs over seven frames of a 5-1 setback to the New York Mets on Sunday.
The left-hander dropped to 5-7 in 17 starts on the season and owns a 3.62 ERA, spanning 107 innings pitched. Saunders is 1-2 in eight road assignments this season and 1-2 with a 5.26 ERA in four career starts against Philadelphia.
Philadelphia suffered its second straight loss and fifth in seven tries last night, as Chase Utley homered and Nate Schierholtz drove in a run. The Phils had won four in a row at home.
"We had chances to score but, of course, we didn't get a big hit," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "We made some mistakes, some baserunning mistakes."
Kyle Kendrick made the start in place of Joe Blanton, who was traded to the Dodgers prior to the game. Kendrick was dealt the loss for giving up three runs -- two earned -- in four innings. He had his career-best 22-inning scoreless streak end in the second on a homer by Upton. It was Upton's 100th career home run and his brother, B.J., reached the milestone as well Friday night for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Blanton, meanwhile, is teammates again with Shane Victorino. Victorino landed in L.A. earlier this week, while fellow outfielder Hunter Pence was shipped to the Giants. Starting pitcher Cliff Lee also landed on the waiver wire, but the Phillies can either negotiate with other teams or pull Lee back from waivers.
Lee may not be a Phillie for long after the Dodgers reportedly put a claim in on him.
The Phillies, who are last in the NL East and opened a nine-game homestand on Friday, will send Roy Halladay to the mound this evening. Halladay is 0-3 with a 7.20 earned run average in his last five starts and was beaten by Atlanta the last time out in Sunday's 6-2 setback in which he allowed three runs in six innings. Halladay fell to 4-6 in 14 starts with a 4.33 ERA and is only 1-6 in his last seven decisions since opening the season with three wins in a row.
The right-hander is only 1-3 in six home starts in 2012, but 3-1 with a 2.73 ERA in four career starts against Arizona.
Philadelphia won two of three meetings with Arizona from April 23-25 in the desert and is 9-2 in the last 11 matchups as the host.
08/04 10:55:22 ET
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