The Arizona Diamondbacks take aim at their first three-game winning streak in nearly a month on Friday night when they play the first of three straight meetings with the New York Mets.
The Diamondbacks are coming off a two-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays, marking the first time the club has won back-to-back contests since July 25-26. That inability to string together victories has Arizona 5 1/2 games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the NL West.
The D'backs will try to win three in a row for the first time since July 11-13 and stand a good chance if Martin Prado can continue his hot hitting. The 29- year-old is batting .413 over his past 17 games with a pair of homers and 14 RBI while striking out just once over that stretch. He went 4-for-4 with a two-run homer and go-ahead two-run single in Wednesday's 9-8 win over the Rays.
"We've been doing this all year, always battling," said Prado. "It feels great for me, but it's better for my teammates ... and that's all that matters."
The Diamondbacks turn to Patrick Corbin in tonight's opener as he tries to avoid a third straight losing start.
After four consecutive outings of allowing just one run each time out, Corbin gave up three runs over six innings in a loss at Boston on Saturday. The lefty yielded eight hits and walked two while striking out six.
"In the seventh inning, Patrick ran out of gas a little bit and made some pitches where he didn't want them," said D'backs manager Kirk Gibson.
Corbin dipped to 12-3 with a 2.33 earned run average in 22 starts this season.
The 24-year-old has lost both of his previous starts versus the Mets, including July 2 in New York. Corbin allowed five runs over six-plus innings, facing four batters in the seventh inning without recording an out.
Corbin will try to avenge that 9-1 loss and rematches against the pitcher that won that game in Jeremy Hefner, who was making his first career start versus the Diamondbacks.
Hefner yielded one run over seven innings as one of the four hits he yielded was a solo homer to Prado in the seventh inning. Prado's homer tied the game, but the Mets rebounded to score seven runs in the bottom of the frame.
The right-handed Hefner is winless in his last five starts overall, going 0-2 with a 7.66 ERA. He did log a quality start on Saturday versus Kansas City, allowing three runs on eight hits over six innings of a no-decision, striking out six without a walk.
"They're a real aggressive team, and so (I was) just trying to get them to put it in play early," Hefner said. "My pitch count was starting to get up there again. Just trying to do that, and I did that pretty well today."
The 27-year-old is 4-8 with a 4.23 ERA in 23 games this season, all but one of those starts.
New York opens an 11-game road trip after sweeping the visiting Colorado Rockies in three games. The Mets claimed a pair of one-run victories around a Matt Harvey shut out on Wednesday, winning yesterday's finale 2-1.
"We didn't knock the ball all over the ballpark, but it shows you can win games doing the little things," said New York manager Terry Collins.
Dillon Gee hurled 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball and rookie Wilmer Flores drove in a run in his third major league game. He hit a three-run double in Wednesday's victory as well.
New York will visit four cities on its road trip, following this set with stops at Los Angeles and San Diego before a make-up game with Minnesota.
The Mets and D'backs split a four-game set in New York from July 1-4.