Marlins-Diamondbacks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated August 19, 2012
After taking full advantage of one struggling team to close out their road trip, the Arizona Diamondbacks will face another to start a 10-game homestand. The Diamondbacks look to match a season high with a fifth straight victory Monday night in the opener of a four-game set against the Miami Marlins. Arizona (62-59) outscored Houston 23-6 in a weekend sweep as it seeks its third five-game win streak and first since July 20-24. The defending NL West champion Diamondbacks are in third place in the division, 4 1/2 games behind first-place Los Angeles. "We'd like to be closer, we're not right now, but we're going to push it right until the end," manager Kirk Gibson said. "I think we've got a good feel for ourselves." While the Astros have scored 456 runs - the majors' third-fewest - the Marlins (55-67) own the second-lowest total with 453. Miami has been shut out three times in its last eight games, and was outscored 24-12 in losing three of four at home to Arizona from April 27-30. Joe Saunders (6-9, 3.70 ERA) will start Monday for Arizona. He's already shut down Miami once this season with a three-hitter in a 5-0 victory April 27 for his lone 2012 complete game. The left-hander has struggled at home, posting a 4.72 ERA there. His last three starts came on the road, and he gave up five runs over six innings Wednesday in a 5-2 loss at St. Louis. The Marlins' Carlos Lee is 6 for 14 off Saunders and Emilio Bonifacio is 5 for 10 against him. Bonifacio went 1 for 5 in Sunday's 3-2 loss at Colorado in his first action since Aug. 3 after being out with a sprained left thumb. Miami will also turn to a left-hander in veteran Mark Buehrle (10-11, 3.74), who allowed two runs in seven innings Wednesday to earn a 9-2 win over Philadelphia. He has notched at least 10 victories in 12 consecutive years, although it took him six tries to get his latest one. "This is one of those accomplishments that at the end of your career, you might look back at what you did that not many people have done," Buehrle told the Marlins' official website. "But right now, it's disappointing that it took me this long to get to my 10th win in my 24th start." Buehrle is 3-7 with a 4.81 ERA in 11 road starts. His lone career outing against Arizona did not go well as he surrendered seven runs over five innings in a 9-5 loss April 30. The Diamondbacks are brimming with confidence after Chris Young went 7 for 14 with five RBIs and Aaron Hill was 7 for 12 with three homers over the weekend. "It was needed," Hill said of the sweep. "Hopefully it will carry us into the next few series and just keep it rolling. Maybe we'll catch on fire here and get some momentum and obviously catch the guys in front of us." Jason Kubel, who is 7 for 13 against Miami this year, went 1 for 5 on Sunday after missing the previous two games with a sore neck.
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