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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, April 18th (All times Eastern)

Pittsburgh Pirates (4-7) at Arizona Diamondbacks (7-4), 3:40 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Pittsburgh - James McDonald (0-1, 3.86) Arizona - Daniel Hudson (1-0, 8.71)

(Sports Network) - Pirates right-hander James McDonald didn't stand a chance last time out, but at least he kept his club out of the history books.

Pittsburgh hopes to give McDonald a better outcome today in the final contest of a three-game series with the hosting Arizona Diamondbacks.

McDonald has pitched to a manageable 3.86 earned run average through his first two outings, but has yet to find the win column. After getting a no-decision versus the Phillies on April 8, the 27-year-old was left without much of a shot in beating the Giants on Friday.

While McDonald himself allowed three runs on six hits and three walks over 5 2/3 innings, the Pittsburgh offense managed just one hit in a 5-0 loss to San Francisco and Matt Cain, who went the distance. In fact, the only hit Cain allowed was a single to McDonald with two outs in the sixth and the Pirates hurler wasn't that ecstatic after the game of breaking up Cain's perfect game.

"Man ... the pitcher standing in the way of a perfect game. That kind of stinks. But it happened," McDonald told Pittsburgh's website.

McDonald is 2-2 with a 6.35 ERA in six career meetings with the Diamondbacks, including two starts.

While McDonald has been keeping his team in games, Arizona starter Daniel Hudson has struggled to an 8.71 ERA over his first two starts, though he can still improve on a 1-0 record today.

The right-hander got a win versus the Giants on April 7 after giving up four runs in 6 2/3 frames of work, then received a no-decision in Colorado on Friday despite getting charged with six runs, 10 hits and three walks over just 3 2/3 innings. Hudson gave up a pair of solo homers as he blew leads of 2-0 and 6-2.

The 25-year-old has a solid 2.45 ERA in three career starts against the Pirates, but is 0-1 versus them.

Hudson could be without some key offensive support today as both Chris Young and Justin Upton are day-to-day with injuries. Upton missed last night's 5-4 loss with a jammed thumb, while Young drove in a run before exiting in the fourth with a shoulder injury after crashing into the center field wall following a spectacular catch.

Minus two of its top outfielders, Arizona couldn't hold off a Pittsburgh rally that saw Andrew McCutchen cap a four-hit game by driving in the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning.

Garrett Jones went 3-for-4 with a home run and Neil Walker added three hits and an RBI for the Bucs, who had lost six of seven coming in.

"When unexpected things happen, that's when you find out what kind of ballclub you are," McCutchen said. "The bullpen stepped up and did its job."

Willie Bloomquist, John McDonald, Jason Kubel also drove in runs for the Diamondbacks, who had a two-game win streak snapped.

These two clubs split six meetings last season, with Arizona taking two of three at home.

04/18 10:40:50 ET