Miley gets ball as D-backs seek series split with Cubs

Looking to bounce back in finale with Cubs, D-backs send Miley to mound against struggling Villanueva.

Although they couldn't come through late in their last game, the Diamondbacks have shown the ability to score runs against the Cubs. They could be primed for another big day against struggling Carlos Villanueva on Thursday night when they try to earn a split of this four-game series at Chase Field.

Paul Goldschmidt hit a three-run home run and Cody Ross added a game-tying sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning as Arizona (52-49) rallied from a six-run deficit to send Wednesday's game into extra innings. Nate Schierholtz, however, capped a career-best, five-RBI performance with a go-ahead RBI double in the top of the 12th inning to lead Chicago (45-54) to a 7-6 victory.

"It's good to win after they came back like that," Schierholtz said.

The Diamondbacks dropped 1 1/2 games behind the red-hot Dodgers in the NL West.

Despite stranding a season-high 16 runners on Wednesday, the D-backs have totaled 16 runs and 26 hits in their last two games. They had nine and 36, respectively, over their previous five.

"We left a zillion guys on and not really swinging at good pitches in those situations," manager Kirk Gibson said. "We have no one to blame but ourselves."

Arizona, hitting .255 overall, has batted .301 and averaged 6.7 runs in splitting six games with Chicago. Goldschmidt has played a key role in that effort, going 9 for 18 with two homers and 10 RBIs in his last five games against the Cubs.

The Diamondbacks hope to continue that production against Villanueva (2-6, 4.16 ERA), who is winless in eight starts. The right-hander matched a season high by allowing seven runs over four-plus innings and issued a season-high four walks in a 9-3 loss in Colorado on Saturday.

"He got through the first few innings, but there was still no fastball command at all," manager Dale Sveum said. "He's got to be able to start up his fastball a lot more than he is so his breaking stuff is going to be a lot more effective."

Villanueva will make his first career start against the Diamondbacks, though he's 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA in 11 relief appearances. He's allowed one hit in 1 1/3 innings against them this season.

Diamondbacks starter Wade Miley (6-8, 4.03), meanwhile, hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in any of his last nine outings. The left-hander has gone 3-3 with a 2.98 ERA over that stretch, though he lasted just four innings -- his shortest stint since May 25 -- and allowed two runs in a 4-3 loss in San Francisco on Saturday.

Miley pitched well in his only career home start against the Cubs, allowing one run and three hits over eight innings in a 5-1 win June 24, 2012. However, he was tagged for three home runs and seven runs over seven innings in a 7-2 loss at Wrigley Field on May 31.

Alfonso Soriano (2 for 5) and Cody Ransom (3 for 8) each have two homers off Miley, but Starlin Castro, David DeJesus and Anthony Rizzo are a combined 3 for 18. Soriano, the subject of ongoing trade rumors, is expected back in the lineup after getting Wednesday off. He had gone 0 for 7 with four strikeouts in the previous two games.

Junior Lake went 2 for 5 with two doubles in his third straight multi-hit effort, and the third baseman is 14 for 27 (.519) while hitting safely in his first six major league games.

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