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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, August 8th (All times eastern)

Arizona Diamondbacks (56-54) at Pittsburgh Pirates (62-47), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Arizona - Ian Kennedy (10-8, 4.15) Pittsburgh - Kevin Correia (8-6, 4.49)

(Sports Network) - Resurgent right-hander Ian Kennedy aims for a fifth consecutive victory tonight when the Arizona Diamondbacks head back to PNC Park for the third of four games with the host Pittsburgh Pirates.

A 21-game winner in 2011, Kennedy struggled through the first half of the season in 2012 and fell to 6-8 overall in his first start after the All-Star break when he dropped an 8-1 decision to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

He's been stellar since, however, winning four straight starts while allowing eight runs and 27 hits in 28 1/3 innings and trimming his earned run average from 4.55 to 4.15.

The start will be the 100th of his major-league career and fourth against Pittsburgh, which he's beaten once while posting a 2.25 earned run average in 20 innings with 21 strikeouts.

Kennedy is 5-6 in 12 road starts this season.

He's opposed by veteran righty Kevin Correia, who's not lost since June 13 at Baltimore.

The interleague loss to the Orioles reduced the California native to 2-6 after he'd gone 12-11 last season, but he's responded with six wins and two no- decisions in eight outings, including a 3-2 defeat of the Cubs at home on July 25.

He was shelled for four runs in two innings of relief at Houston on July 29, after being pulled from the rotation when the Pirates acquired Wandy Rodriguez at the trade deadline.

In 24 career meetings with the Diamondbacks, he's 4-8 with a hold, a complete game and a shutout.

On Tuesday, Chris Johnson hit two homers, including a go-ahead three-run blast in the eighth inning, as the Diamondbacks rallied for a 10-4 win over the Pirates.

Pittsburgh went ahead in the seventh when rookie Starling Marte belted a leadoff home run and Neil Walker added a bases-loaded sacrifice fly for a 4-3 advantage, but Jason Grilli (1-4) failed to hold the lead.

Paul Goldschmidt began the eighth with a double off the Pirates reliever before crossing the plate courtesy of consecutive singles by Justin Upton and Miguel Montero.

Johnson then sent a 1-0 fastball over the wall in right-center field, making it 7-4.

"I'm feeling good with myself, seeing the ball pretty well before that, too," Johnson said. "I'm just trying to keep it simple."

Brad Ziegler (5-1) earned the win, entering after Walker's sac fly and inducing Michael McKenry into an inning-ending double play.

Montero added an RBI double in the ninth before Johnson blasted a two- run homer to center field. The third baseman has five home runs and 15 RBI in eight games since being acquired from the Astros on July 29.

"The last six outs were very difficult to get tonight," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

Stephen Drew went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBI for the Diamondbacks, who had lost three straight, including the opener of the four-game series on Monday.

Patrick Corbin got the start and the no-decision for Arizona, allowing two runs on six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts over six innings. Diamondbacks pitchers have now recorded a season-high eight straight quality starts.

Pittsburgh went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left the bases loaded in the fifth and runners at the corners in the sixth.

The Pirates, thanks to Cincinnati's loss at Milwaukee, still trail the Reds by 3 1/2 games in the National League's Central Division.

The Diamondbacks have won 60 of 100 games between the teams since they began playing in 1998, though Pittsburgh won two of three in their lone previous 2012 series in Phoenix in April.

08/08 10:54:32 ET