A return to Chase Field has given the Arizona Diamondbacks ' once-struggling offense a spark.
The Diamondbacks will look to ride a rejuvenated lineup to a fourth straight win when they host the New York Mets on Saturday night.
The Diamondbacks (59-55) recorded two runs and a single extra-base hit over two losses to round out a six-game road trip, the fourth and fifth times over a seven-game stretch they'd been held to two runs or fewer.
Since arriving back in Phoenix, though, they've accumulated 20 runs, 30 hits, 12 doubles and three home runs over the first three games of an eight-game homestand.
On Friday night, Arizona racked up six doubles - a total it had reached just two other times this season - before Paul Goldschmidt 's walk-off home run delivered a 5-4 victory over New York (52-61).
He has three game-winning hits this season and leads the NL with 91 RBIs.
"Oh, it's fun," Goldschmidt said. "It doesn't matter if it's you hitting it or a teammate hitting it, you get an opportunity to win the game there in the ninth inning or extra innings or whatever it is, it's a lot of fun. Hopefully we can do it a few more times."
Goldschmidt has six home runs in 14 games heading into his bobblehead day at Chase Field.
New York's Zack Wheeler has allowed eight homers in his first nine major league starts, but the long ball might not be his biggest concern.
Wheeler (4-2, 3.91 ERA) has walked multiple batters in every start and tied a season high with five Sunday. Wheeler, whose walks per nine innings total (4.97) ranks among the worst in the major leagues, allowed four runs in five innings of New York's 6-2 loss to Kansas City.
Three of those runs came in the fifth courtesy of a pair of dropped fly balls by Marlon Byrd .
"I told him that in times like that you have to dial it up and make a statement, 'This is it boys. I'm putting an end to this right here. This thing is over,'" manager Terry Collins said. "You don't worry about not having anything left at the end of the inning, you just put an end to it."
Wheeler had been 3-0 with a 2.73 ERA over his previous five starts.
Brandon McCarthy (2-5, 4.94) also struggled with his control his last time out, but his struggles came as more of a surprise. Unlike Wheeler, McCarthy is known for his precision, as his 1.65 walks per nine innings mark is among the best in the major leagues.
Still, after walking six batters in his first eight starts, the right-hander has issued seven over his last four - including a season-high three in his return Sunday from a two-month stint on the disabled list. McCarthy needed 97 pitches to get through 4 1-3 innings, giving up two runs in Arizona's 4-0 loss to Boston.
"Towards the end, I just felt my lack of ... game shape," McCarthy told the Diamondbacks' official website. "I just wasn't able to execute as much as I'd like and the ball kind of started getting up a little bit."
McCarthy has never faced the Mets, who have averaged just 2.7 runs over a 14-game stretch in which they've hit only three home runs. They haven't gone deep in five straight contests.
Byrd, their leader with 17 home runs, has gone 19 games without one - though he nearly notched his 100th career homer on an inside-the-park attempt Friday before he was thrown out at the plate.
|New York Mets|
|August 03, 2013||David Wright||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|August 02, 2013||David Wright||Day-to-Day||Strained right hamstring|
|July 31, 2013||Bobby Parnell||15-Day DL||Neck stiffness|
|July 30, 2013||Josh Edgin||15-Day DL||Ribcage stress fracture|
|July 26, 2013||Justin Turner||Day-to-Day||Sore right shoulder|
|July 25, 2013||Eric Young||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right knee|
|July 29, 2013||Miguel Montero||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|July 26, 2013||Aaron Hill||Day-to-Day||Hamstring tightness|
|July 09, 2013||Eric Chavez||Day-to-Day||Stiff right hip|
|July 01, 2013||Trevor Cahill||15-Day DL||Right hip contusion|
|June 28, 2013||Willie Bloomquist||15-Day DL||Left hand contusion|
|June 10, 2013||Matt Reynolds||15-Day DL||Strained left elbow|
PHOENIX (AP) -- Wilmer Flores has yet to find a consistent groove with the bat during his limited time in the majors, at least going by his .211 average.
But when he comes up with runners in scoring position, watch out.
Flores drove in three runs to extend his RBI streak to four games, Zack Wheeler pitched effectively into the seventh inning and the New York Mets beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-1 on Saturday.
Called up from Triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday, Flores had a run-scoring single off Brandon McCarthy (2-6) in the fourth inning and a two-run single in the eighth.
That's eight RBIs in his first five games in the majors for the 22-year-old Venezuelan.
"He doesn't strike out. I'm sure he will one of these days, but he puts the bat on the ball," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "People are yelling he's hitting .167, but look up, he's got 18 at-bats and six RBIs (before Saturday). A lot of guys on this team would take six RBIs every 18 at-bats."
New York lost the series opener on a walk-off homer by Paul Goldschmidt .
The Mets held off the Diamondbacks in the second game behind Flores, Wheeler and some clutch performances by their bullpen.
Wheeler (5-2) did his part, allowing a solo home run to Aaron Hill and little else over 6 1-3 innings to bounce back from a shaky outing previous start.
Scott Rice followed him and got Adam Eaton to ground out with the bases loaded to end the seventh inning.
Flores put New York up 4-1 with a two-single to left off David Hernandez , but Arizona fought back, loading the bases in the bottom half against Carlos Torres . Pedro Feliciano put a quick end to that threat by striking out Gerardo Parra looking.
LaTroy Hawkins then finished it off, striking out Martin Prado with on runner on second in the ninth for his third save in five chances and 900th career strikeout.
Arizona stranded 10 baserunners and ended the night 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position.
"We didn't capitalize on our opportunities," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said.
Wheeler had something to do with it.
The rookie right-hander struggled in his last outing, giving up four earned runs and seven hits in five innings of a loss to the Royals last Sunday.
Wheeler was sharp against the Diamondbacks, keeping them off-balance with his mid-90s fastball and looping curveball while avoiding walks - a rarity this season.
He worked around baserunners four times in the first five innings and got a lift from catcher John Buck in the sixth, when he reached over the rail to catch a foul pop-up by Martin Prado .
Wheeler finally made a mistake in the seventh inning, when Hill fouled off a couple of two-strike pitches before hitting a curveball just out of left fielder Chris Young 's reach for a homer that cut New York's lead to 2-1.
Wil Nieves followed with a one-out single and Wheeler was replaced by Scott Rice , who got Adam Eaton to ground out with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Wheeler allowed six hits and didn't walk a batter after walking at least two in each of his first nine starts.
"The past three starts, since Miami, I just found something," Wheeler said. "I don't know what it is, but it's flowing right now. It feels good and allows me to throw downhill."
McCarthy, in his second start off the DL, got through the first three innings before Juan Lagares led off the fourth with a line-drive homer that just cleared the wall into the pool deck in right-center. Ike Davis then doubled off the wall and Flores knocked him with a single to put the Mets up 2-0.
McCarthy was good after that, getting Flores to ground out with runners on second and third in the sixth inning before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the seventh. He allowed two runs on six hits and struck out four.
"I felt pretty good," said McCarthy, who went on the DL on May 31 with shoulder inflammation. "The few pitches that I would like to have back, but overall I felt that I did a good job of commanding the ball and kind of moving them around."
Notes: Lagares is 27 for 81 with 11 extra-base hits and 13 RBIs since the All-Star break after going 2 for 4. ... Parra made a diving catch near the foul line in right to rob Buck of a hit in the eighth inning. ... Mets LHP Jonathon Niese will make his first start in Sunday's series finale since going on the DL with a partial rotator cuff tear on June 21. He is 1-2 with a 6.85 ERA in four career starts against the Diamondbacks. ... Arizona RHP Zeke Spruill will make his second career start in the majors after giving up five earned runs in four innings in a loss to Texas in his debut.