MLB

Sat, May 28, 2011 - 7:05 PM ET
 

Diamondbacks-Astros Preview

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A freak injury cost Zach Duke a chance to be with his new team since the start of the season.

The left-hander finally gets to make up for lost time Saturday night when he makes his Arizona Diamondbacks debut against the Houston Astros.

The Diamondbacks (27-24) acquired Duke via trade in November after the left-hander spent six underwhelming seasons in Pittsburgh, where he compiled a 45-70 record and 4.54 ERA. His spring training was cut short March 12 when a line drive by Colorado Rockies minor league outfielder Charlie Blackmon broke his pitching hand, and Duke has made two rehab starts this month.

"It's not like I blew out physically, I got hit by a line drive," Duke told the Diamondbacks' official website last week after a start in Class A. "That's the most frustrating part of watching these guys go out there every day, not being able to contribute or help out.

"If everything goes according to plan, I should be ready to come on back up and give this team six and seven strong."

Duke pitched 5 1-3 innings Monday for Triple-A Reno, allowing five runs and seven hits. He split two starts versus the Astros (19-32) last season and is 3-5 with a 3.38 ERA in 11 starts and 12 lifetime appearances against them.

The lefty has never won at Minute Maid Park, going 0-2 with a 4.38 ERA in four starts and five total outings. Astros second baseman Bill Hall is 11 for 31 with three home runs and three doubles versus Duke, and shortstop Clint Barmes is 7 for 13 with one homer and one triple.

Despite his struggles in Houston, Duke may have found an opportune time to make his debut. The Diamondbacks have won four straight and 10 of 11 after rallying from a 6-0 deficit Friday to win 7-6 in the series opener.

Juan Miranda hit a pair of two-run homers and Chris Young had a go-ahead two-run single in the seventh as Arizona tied a team record for largest deficit overcome.

"It's a good feeling,'' manager Kirk Gibson said. ''We could have laid down early in the game. There's no question we were tired today when we got in here. They picked it up and were fortunate to get the win.''

In addition to the loss, the Astros had to place catcher Humberto Quintero on the 15-day disabled list after he sprained his ankle in a collision at the plate with Ryan Roberts, keeping such plays in the spotlight after San Francisco catcher Buster Posey broke his leg Wednesday.

''I think it was an OK play,'' Quintero said. ''I can be good to go in 7-10 days. The bat made me slide back. It pushed my knee and ankle back.''

The Astros will have a makeshift battery after scheduled starter Wandy Rodriguez felt pain in his left elbow Friday and was scratched. Bud Norris (2-3, 3.77 ERA) instead will take the ball again seeking his first victory since May 1.

Norris did not record a decision Monday after yielding three runs and six hits in seven innings before the Astros rallied for three in the ninth to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3. Houston has scored one or no runs in three of the right-hander's four starts during his winless stretch.

The lack of support may be irrelevant if Norris can't solve the Diamondbacks. He is 0-2 with a 14.34 ERA in three lifetime starts, getting tagged for 17 runs and 19 hits while walking 10 in 10 2-3 innings.

Young, a Houston native who is hitting .416 with four homers and three doubles in 11 games at Minute Maid Park, is 0 for 5 versus Norris.

Tagged: Astros, Diamondbacks, Zach Duke, Bud Norris

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