Erik Bedard hopes to pick up his first victory of the season and give the Pittsburgh Pirates back-to-back road wins in the first of three straight games against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Signed to add a veteran presence to the Pirates' rotation, the 33-year-old Bedard has pitched well over his first two starts but hasn't been rewarded with a win. He lost a 1-0 decision to the Phillies on April 5 despite seven innings of one-run ball, then allowed two runs over five frames at the Dodgers on Wednesday. Bedard gave up eight hits and struck out three, but took a 4-1 setback.
"I didn't throw many strikes with my breaking ball," said Bedard. "I had two bad innings where I couldn't throw the ball where I wanted to."
The left-hander has fallen to 8-4 with a 1.79 earned run average in 19 career starts versus the National League and faces the Diamondbacks for the second time in his career. Bedard faced them for the first time on June 15, 2007 with the Orioles and got a no-decision with seven innings of two-run ball.
Pittsburgh opened up a nine-game road trip with five straight losses before notching a 4-1 win over San Francisco on Sunday. Kevin Correia allowed one run over six innings and Joel Hanrahan notched his first save of the season.
"We had lost five in a row and we had to turn it around," said Correia. "I think we've been throwing the ball pretty well. We haven't quite gotten on the board enough and today we came through with some runs."
Alex Presley finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and Garrett Jones crushed a solo home run, while Neil Walker had two hits and Josh Harrison added an RBI for the Bucs.
Pittsburgh takes its swings tonight against Joe Saunders, who made his season debut last Wednesday in San Diego and got a no-decision despite seven scoreless innings. The left-hander gave up four hits and struck out four, but his club lost a 2-1 decision.
"In a game like that you have to shut them down," said Saunders. "We had the lead and I was just trying to throw up zeroes and give the bullpen a chance to hold it."
Saunders, 30, has faced the Pirates just once and allowed four runs over six innings of a no-decision.
Arizona avoided a three-game sweep in Colorado by logging a 5-2 win on Sunday. Trevor Cahill yielded one run over 7 1/3 innings, striking out six.
"[Cahill] had it working very well," said Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson. "If he, as I expect him to, improve on his control, it will be very good for us."
Cahill walked two and Bryan Shaw pitched 1 1/3 perfect innings to record his second save of the season. Chris Young hit a two-run homer and finished with three RBI in the win.
Arizona now returns home for 10 in a row.
These two clubs split six meetings last season, with Arizona taking two of three at home.