The Pittsburgh Pirates can thank their bullpen as well as some much-needed offense for being in position to sweep a three-game series at Chase Field for the first time.
The Pirates, however, would probably like to see Jonathan Sanchez give those relievers some necessary rest in Wednesday's series finale with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Pittsburgh (3-5) won 5-3 on Monday, as four relievers combined to allow one run over 6 2-3 innings after starter Wandy Rodriguez left in the third inning with tightness in his left hamstring.
The bullpen yielded one run over the final four innings Tuesday as the Pirates held on for a 6-5 victory after James McDonald had trouble throwing strikes and lasted five-plus innings.
Pittsburgh totaled eight runs before heading into the desert for this series. Garrett Jones is 4 for 9 with a homer and three RBIs in the first two games while Starling Marte is also 4 for 9 to stretch his run of multihit efforts to four.
"We've got some guys that can hit and they're going to hit. We're not going to hit .120 all year long," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We got some balls to hit, so we feel like we can compete in the box, stretch out some at_bats, and we've been able to do that the last couple of nights."
Arizona (5-3) committed two errors and went 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position Tuesday.
"All in all, it was a game we didn't play very well in," manager Kirk Gibson said. "We didn't execute when we needed to and they did. They out-executed us and their (relievers) came in and pounded us hard late in the game."
The Pirates' lone three-game sweep of the Diamondbacks was at home from Sept. 17-19, 2010. Pittsburgh's only sweep in Arizona was two games from Aug. 25-26, 1998.
Sanchez (0-1, 5.40 ERA) lost his lone start against Arizona last year while with San Francisco, allowing five runs over four innings in a 6-3 loss July 23. The Giants had won his previous seven starts against the Diamondbacks, with Sanchez going 5-0 with a 3.38 ERA.
Sanchez's seven career wins over Arizona are his most against any team. Diamondbacks cleanup hitter Miguel Montero, who drove in three runs Tuesday, is 5 for 12 with two homers against him.
The Pittsburgh left-hander gave up three runs over five innings Friday in his club debut, a 3-0 road loss to the Dodgers.
He'll be opposed by Wade Miley (1-0, 1.50), the runner-up in NL Rookie of the Year voting a year ago. The left-hander allowed one run over six innings Friday to earn a 3-1 victory at Milwaukee.
That outing came after the Diamondbacks shut him down after he posted a 7.43 ERA in the spring.
"He wasn't progressing like we wanted him to when we shut him down," Gibson said. "He'd have time to come back. I thought he would be way sharper, and he was."
Miley is 1-1 with a 1.64 ERA in two career starts against the Pirates.
Pittsburgh second baseman Neil Walker, off to a 2-for-24 start, is 0 for 5 versus Miley.
The Associated Press News Service
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