Marlins-Diamondbacks Preview

One year ago, the Arizona Diamondbacks had the NL West’s worst

record and were 11 1/2 games out of first place.

They enter this June atop the division.

The surprising Diamondbacks try to bounce back from a rare loss

and win for the 16th time in 19 games in Wednesday’s series finale

against the visiting Florida Marlins.

Arizona (30-25) has 10 more wins than at this time last season

and enters June in first place in the West for the first time since

2008. The Diamondbacks, who last won the division in 2007, are a

major league-best 15-3 since May 14.

They’re one-half game ahead of second-place San Francisco

despite seeing their season-best seven-game winning streak come to

an end Tuesday with a 5-2 loss to the Marlins (31-22). The offense

had little luck against Anibal Sanchez, who improved to 4-0 with a

1.15 ERA in his last five starts.

Homers by Justin Upton and Kelly Johnson provided the offense

for the Diamondbacks, who managed six hits after pounding out 19 –

including five home runs – in Monday’s series-opening 15-4 victory.

Johnson is batting .419 with five homers, three doubles and nine

RBIs during a seven-game hitting streak.

Despite the loss, the Diamondbacks are still in position to win

five consecutive series for the first time since winning six

straight in April 2008. They haven’t won a home series over the

Marlins since sweeping a four-game set in July 2007.

Florida is a major league-best 17-10 on the road.

The Marlins, who didn’t win their 17th road game last season

until July 4, can wrap up a 6-3 trip with a victory Wednesday.

Logan Morrison is batting .344 on the trip, while Gaby Sanchez

is hitting .355 with two homers and eight RBIs. Both hit solo shots

Tuesday for Florida, which had been outscored 23-4 while losing its

previous two games.

“It’s just a good feeling to get a win after those last two,”

said Morrison, who has reached safely in all 32 games he’s played

this season, the longest active streak in the majors.

Morrison and his teammates will get their first look at

Arizona’s Daniel Hudson (6-5, 4.13 ERA), who is seeking his seventh

win in eight starts.

Hudson won his third consecutive start Friday in Houston,

getting credit for a 7-6 victory despite giving up six runs and

eight hits in six innings. The right-hander had yielded six runs

over 28 2-3 innings in his previous four outings.

Hudson, who has never faced Florida, has posted a 2.89 ERA while

winning his last four starts at Chase Field.

The Marlins counter with Javier Vazquez (3-4, 6.02).

The veteran right-hander gave up two runs on a pair of solo

homers in six innings of Friday’s 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles

Dodgers but did not get a decision. James Loney’s homer in the

second snapped Vazquez’s scoreless innings streak at 11.

Vazquez, who pitched for Arizona in 2005, has a 3.44 ERA without

a decision in three starts versus the Diamondbacks since

leaving.