Diamondbacks-Pirates Preview

The Pittsburgh Pirates missed their most recent chance to hit

the break-even point. Reaching .500 during this series might be a

tall order the way the Arizona Diamondbacks have been playing.

The Pirates go for their fourth straight victory in this matchup

Tuesday night, while the Diamondbacks look to win a seventh

consecutive road game for the first time since 2002.

With a chance for a three-game sweep of Philadelphia, the

Pirates (28-30) lost 7-3 on Sunday, failing to reach .500 this late

in the season for the first time since June 11, 2005. Still,

manager Clint Hurdle’s club continues its 10-game homestand

brimming with confidence following a weekend set that drew the

fourth-most fans (108,807) for a three-game series in PNC Park’s

11-year history.

“It was a great series for our ballclub and the city,” said

second baseman Neil Walker, who is expected to get Tuesday off. “We

played hard and played well against the team with the best record

in the league in front of three great crowds. It’s something to

build on.”

Kevin Correia (8-4, 3.40 ERA) is a major reason why the Pirates

have hope for their first winning season since 1992. The veteran

right-hander has won his last three outings and will try for sole

possession of the MLB lead in victories Tuesday.

Correia improved to 7-1 on the road with six strong innings in

Wednesday’s 9-3 win against the New York Mets, but he has been far

less effective at home in his first season with Pittsburgh, going

1-3 with a 5.70 ERA in four starts.

“I don’t see any problem with winning games at home,” he told

the Pirates’ official website. ” … I’m comfortable pitching

here.”

Correia should be comfortable facing the Diamondbacks (33-27)

after making 14 starts against them over the last four seasons

while with San Francisco and San Diego. He is 4-7 with a 4.98 ERA

in those outings.

Arizona enters this series having won 18 of 23 to vault into

contention in the NL West. The Diamondbacks finished a 4-3

homestand Sunday with a 9-4, 11-inning loss to Washington, but

manager Kirk Gibson’s club opens a seven-game trip after finishing

its last trek with six consecutive victories.

A win Tuesday would give the team its longest road winning

streak since a franchise-record nine-game run Aug. 3-17, 2002.

“We can compete, we’ve always known that,” Tuesday’s scheduled

starter Daniel Hudson told the Diamondbacks’ official website.

Hudson (6-5, 4.22) hasn’t been at his best while allowing 10

runs and 18 hits over 13 innings in his last two starts, but the

right-hander is still 6-1 with a 3.46 ERA in eight starts since

losing his first four outings.

Hudson will face the Pirates for the second time. He struck out

six and allowed one run in 6 1-3 innings in Arizona’s 4-3 road loss

Sept. 19 as Pittsburgh completed its first-ever three-game sweep of

the Diamondbacks.

Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, who hit one of his two

homers in that series off Hudson, is 11 for 22 with five RBIs in

five games this month.

Diamondbacks center fielder Chris Young does not have a home run

in his last 79 at-bats on the road, but in 40 career at-bats

against Correia he has hit four out of the park – the most by any

player off Correia.