The Arizona Diamondbacks have jumped out to a great start behind an impressive offensive surge.
The Pittsburgh Pirates , in contrast, haven't been able to get anything going at the plate.
The Diamondbacks aim for a fifth consecutive win as they open a three-game set against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates , who try to avoid a fifth straight defeat Monday night.
Despite losing slugging right fielder Justin Upton this offseason, Arizona has won five of its first six thanks largely to its bats. Hitting .293 and averaging 6.2 runs, the Diamondbacks are seeking their first 6-1 start since 2000 - their best seven-game start in team history.
Arizona returns home following a three-game sweep at Milwaukee. While closer J.J. Putz blew his first save by allowing two runs in the ninth inning Sunday, pinch-hitter Eric Hinske put the Diamondbacks back on top with a two-run homer in the 11th of an 8-7 victory.
"I prepare all day for a minute of work," Hinske told MLB's official website.
The Diamondbacks will try to stay hot against Wandy Rodriguez (1-0, 0.00 ERA), who helped lead Pittsburgh (1-5) to its only win, 3-0 over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday. The left-hander gave up two hits, one walk and struck out six over 6 2-3 innings.
"He's a pro," manager Clint Hurdle said of Rodriguez, who's gone 12-12 over 34 career April starts while compiling a 2.86 ERA - by far his lowest in any month.
Arizona counters with Trevor Cahill (0-1, 4.76), who yielded three runs and five hits over 5 2-3 innings Tuesday in a 6-1 loss to St. Louis. The right-hander, though, struck out seven and may be able to take advantage of Pittsburgh's struggling lineup.
Hitting a major league-low .119, the Pirates, who also rank last in baseball with eight runs scored, proved especially bad in this weekend's three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium.
After getting shut out in the first two contests, Pittsburgh fell 6-2 in Sunday's series finale. Andrew McCutchen provided all the offense with a two-run homer in the first inning - the Pirates' first long ball this season. Pittsburgh is off to its worst start since opening 0-6 in 2006.
"It's going to come, and it's going to come in bunches," A.J. Burnett, who's received zero runs of support over two starts thus far, said of the team's offensive woes. "Our main thing is to stay as positive as possible, not let anything negative creep into our minds."
Rodriguez is 1-5 with a 6.83 ERA over his last six starts versus Arizona. His 5.48 ERA lifetime against the Diamondbacks is his second-highest mark against any NL team.
He'll need to be cautious with Paul Goldschmidt , who's gone 9 for 21 with two homers and seven RBIs over the last four games.
"He's barreling balls, for sure," manager Kirk Gibson said of Parra. "He's made some adjustments, he's learned how to stay back better. He's a strong kid. He's off to a good start. It certainly helps him to be playing every day right now, too."
In his only start versus Pittsburgh, Cahill struck out a career-high 10 over 7 2-3 innings of two-hit ball in a 5-0 win June 26, 2010, while with Oakland.
The Pirates took four of seven from the Diamondbacks last season, including two of three on the road.
|March 26, 2013||Brandon Inge||15-Day DL||Right scapula soreness|
|March 22, 2013||Francisco Liriano||15-Day DL||Fractured right forearm|
|March 22, 2013||Charlie Morton||15-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Jeff Karstens||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|March 20, 2013||Chase d'Arnaud||60-Day DL||Left thumb surgery|
|March 31, 2013||Didi Gregorius||15-Day DL||Right elbow strain|
|March 27, 2013||Willie Bloomquist||15-Day DL||Strained right intercostal|
|March 27, 2013||Willie Bloomquist||Day-to-Day||Strained right oblique|
|March 22, 2013||Cody Ross||15-Day DL||Left calf strain|
|March 22, 2013||Adam Eaton||15-Day DL||Left elbow strain|
|February 18, 2013||Daniel Hudson||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
PHOENIX (AP) -- The offense finally had a good night. So did the bullpen.
That combination for the Pirates was enough to overcome the early departure of starter Wandy Rodriguez as Pittsburgh snapped a five-game losing streak by beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-3 on Monday.
Andrew McCutchen and Travis Snider each had two RBIs and Garrett Jones homered for the Pirates, who had managed just eight runs in their first six games.
McCutchen doubled in a run in a three-run first inning and broke a 3-all tie with his sacrifice fly after Starling Marte 's leadoff triple in the fifth.
"It's good, man," McCutchen said. "We're a ballclub that's capable of doing that. Once we get going, we'll get going. We got on the board early, we fizzled out a little bit, then we got an extra run. We're still capable of doing more, but this is a good start."
Marte, who was 2 for 4 with two runs, and McCutchen make for an exciting pair, manager Clint Hurdle said.
"They're fun to watch at the plate," he said, "and they're fun to watch on the bases."
Jeanmar Gomez (1-0) got the victory in relief of Rodriguez, who left after 2 1-3 innings because of tightness in his left hamstring.
Trevor Cahill (0-2) allowed four runs and four hits in five innings for the Diamondbacks, who had won four in a row and were coming off a three-game sweep at Milwaukee.
"He didn't throw the ball where he wanted to at all," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "He walked a couple of guys, he hit a guy, he was behind. The triple that Marte got was a 2-0 pitch. He didn't throw the ball good at all, not hitting his location, so they got on us. We can't score five runs every night."
Alfredo Marte drove in a run for Arizona with his first major league hit.
Jason Grilli pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save.
Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt had a sacrifice fly, giving him an RBI in a career-best five straight games, but the Diamondbacks didn't get a hit in the last five innings. Justin Wilson threw three innings of hitless relief before Mark Melancon and Grilli closed it out.
Wilson was the most impressive.
"Prado-Hill-Goldschmidt, that's a litmus test for any left-hander," Hurdle said. "That's the most velocity I've seen him have and his breaking ball was good. He's going 98 (mph), 79 (mph), and throwing strikes. Not a single three-ball count."
The Pirates, who hadn't won since opening day, got to Cahill in a hurry.
Starling Marte opened the game with a single, then scored when McCutchen doubled down the left-field line. With two outs, Cahill walked Russell Martin and Pedro Alvarez to load the bases, and Snider followed with a two-run single.
Arizona got one back when Goldschmidt doubled to deep left and scored on Wil Nieves ' two-out single.
Two unearned runs for the Diamondbacks tied it at 3 in the third.
Gerardo Parra reached on an error by Alvarez at third base for running in front of shortstop Clint Barmes , impeding his ability to field the ball. That's when Pirates trainers rushed to the mound and, after trying to stretch and throwing a practice pitch, Rodriguez left the game and Gomez came in.
Rodriguez said he felt the hamstring tighten up on his next-to-last pitch to Parra.
"The next pitch I threw was a breaking ball and I felt it," Rodriguez said. "I told my trainer and the manager that I want to go out because I wanted to protect my next start."
Rodriguez said it's too soon to say whether he will be able to take his next scheduled turn.
Martin Prado singled and Aaron Hill walked to load the bases for Goldschmidt, who narrowly missed a grand slam on a deep drive to left for a sacrifice fly. With two outs, Alfredo Marte drove in the tying run with a single.
The Pirates, who entered with a .119 batting average in their first six games, went back up 4-3 in the fifth when Starling Marte tripled into the left-field corner and scored on McCutchen's sacrifice fly.
Jones' solo home run to right on a 2-2 pitch from Josh Collmenter in the eighth made it 5-3.
Pittsburgh batters struck out 12 times.
NOTES: With a storm front moving through the area, the roof at Chase Field was closed. ... Alfredo Marte 's hit came in his seventh at-bat. ... In the second game of the series Tuesday night, the Pirates send RHP James McDonald (0-1) to the mound against RHP Brandon McCarthy (0-0). ... Pittsburgh had not scored more than three runs in any of its first six games and managed just two runs total while being swept by the Dodgers in Los Angeles last weekend. ... Arizona LHP Matt Reynolds has allowed one hit in five scoreless innings this season. ... The Pirates homered for the second straight game after hitting none in their first five.