The Arizona Diamondbacks and Houston Astros finished April with baseball's worst records, but both clubs are playing well now.
The Diamondbacks have won nine straight over the Astros, who seek an eighth win in nine road games Monday night.
These teams haven't met since 2012 and will play the next four days beginning with two games in Arizona (28-37) before going to Texas for two starting Wednesday.
Playoff contention was probably out of the question at the end of April as the Diamondbacks had the majors' worst record at 9-22 and the Astros (28-36) were an AL-worst 9-19.
Both teams look stronger now.
Arizona won 6-5 at home over Atlanta on Sunday for its fifth victory in six games. Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run homer in the Diamondbacks' six-run seventh inning and David Peralta's two-run shot was his first big-league homer.
Peralta is 12 for 28 with four straight multihit efforts and is the first Arizona player to begin his career by hitting safely in his first seven games.
"He's swung the bat well, he drops the head on it," manager Kirk Gibson said.
Houston is 11-4 since May 24 to tie Toronto for the AL's best record in that span. The Astros pounded Minnesota 14-5 on Sunday, posting their highest run total while homering four times with Chris Carter and Jon Singleton hitting their first career grand slams.
"It's been fun. We like playing off of each other," said Singleton, who made his major league debut Tuesday. "That's definitely a bonus. When one person does well, it carries over and it's contagious."
The Astros dropped their final nine NL meetings with the Diamondbacks and will be out to end a seven-game interleague losing streak. This is their first game in an NL park.
"In a National League game, the biggest difference is the pitcher is in the lineup," manager Bo Porter told the Astros' official website. "Sometimes in an American League game, you can actually go with a guy much longer because you're not dealing with the decision of, it's the sixth inning, it's the bases loaded, there's two outs, the pitcher is due up, this is maybe your best offensive shot - and you feel the need to hit for that guy at that moment."
Houston features numerous young players and recalled rookie left-hander Rudy Owens on Sunday in time for the Arizona native to make a possible appearance in his home state.
"I'm excited to go back home to Arizona, and I know a lot of my family is going to be at the games and stuff," said Owens, who grew up rooting for the Diamondbacks.
Both teams will start right-handers with Houston's Jarred Cosart (4-5, 4.16 ERA) opposing Arizona's Josh Collmenter (4-2, 3.63).
Cosart has never faced Arizona or any of its hitters. He hasn't allowed more than three runs in any of his last eight outings, posting a 2.96 ERA.
Collmenter is 3-0 with a 3.20 ERA in his last four starts and 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA in three in his career versus Houston.
Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero's run of homering in three straight games ended Sunday. He's still 8 for 16 with eight RBIs in his last four contests.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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