Diamondbacks-Pirates Preview

Now that the Arizona Diamondbacks’ long road winning streak is

over, Zach Duke would like to get them started on a new one by

beating the team he broke in with.

Making his first visit to PNC Park, Duke will try to help the

Diamondbacks even their three-game series with the Pittsburgh

Pirates on Wednesday night.

Leading 5-3 going into the bottom of the eighth inning Tuesday,

Arizona (33-28) appeared on its way to a seventh straight road win.

But reliever Daniel Hernandez didn’t retire any of the six batters

he faced and Lyle Overbay’s three-run double keyed a five-run

inning and helped Pittsburgh (29-30) to an 8-5 win.

”Nightmarish would be one word you could use to describe (the

eighth inning),” said Alan Trammell, who managed the team while

Kirk Gibson served a one-game suspension. ”Momentum is a wonderful

thing if you’re on the good side of it. They got the momentum going

in that inning and we tried to minimize the damage but we

couldn’t.”

The Pirates improved to 3-1 on a 10-game homestand.

Juan Miranda had a career-high four hits, including a home run,

and Kelly Johnson and Chris Young also went deep for the

Diamondbacks, who haven’t dropped two straight on the road since

May 12-13.

Duke, who is quite familiar with PNC Park, looks to prevent

that.

In six seasons with the Pirates, Duke was 45-70 with a 4.54 ERA,

losing at least 14 games four times. Most of his woes came on the

road as the left-hander was a surprising 31-31 in 81 starts in

Pittsburgh.

The Pirates dealt Duke to Arizona in November for pitcher Cesar

Valdez, but a fractured hand during spring training delayed his

2011 debut until May 28. Duke (1-1, 3.00 ERA) scattered three hits

over seven innings and hit a three-run homer to beat Houston, but

was then reached for four runs and 10 hits in five innings of a 6-1

loss to Washington on Thursday.

“I wasn’t able to command the fastball the way I wanted to,”

Duke said. ”It caused me to get into hitter’s counts and throw a

lot more pitches and more damage was done.”

Paul Maholm (2-7, 3.66), whose 30 home wins from 2005-10 were

second only to Duke, will take the mound for the Pirates.

Maholm pitched a three-hitter to beat the Chicago Cubs on May

28, but followed with a dismal outing Thursday against the New York

Mets. After being handed an early 7-0 lead, the left-hander was

tagged for a season-high seven runs in 5 2-3 innings and the

Pirates went on to a 9-8 loss.

“They spot me seven and I give it up. It’s not something that

should happen and hopefully it won’t happen again,” said Maholm,

who hasn’t had much backing this season from his teammates.

In 12 starts, Maholm has received 30 runs of support with 17

coming over the last two outings. Despite a 2.84 ERA at home this

season, Maholm is 1-4 in six starts, largely because he’s gotten

only seven runs to work with.

Maholm is 0-2 with a 5.16 ERA in four starts against the

Diamondbacks, but hasn’t faced them since 2007.