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Happ Takes On Diamondbacks In Final Game Of Series

(Sports Network) - The streaking Arizona Diamondbacks can move into first place in the National League's West Division with a victory in the finale of a three-game series with the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

The Diamondbacks won their fifth straight game and narrowed their gap in the West behind the San Francisco Giants to just a half-game when Zach Duke threw seven scoreless innings in his Arizona debut and hit his first career homer, a three-run blast in an 11-3 triumph.

Duke (1-0) allowed just three hits and a walk while fanning four in his first start of the season after recovering from a broken left hand he suffered on a line-drive comebacker in spring training.

He was acquired in an offseason trade after pitching his first six MLB seasons with Pittsburgh.

Gerardo Parra also homered as the D-Backs earned their fifth consecutive win and their 11th victory in their past 12 games.

Bud Norris (2-4) allowed six runs -- two earned -- on seven hits and two walks in five innings as Houston lost for the third time in four games. Norris started in place of Wandy Rodriguez, who was put on the 15-day disabled list Saturday due to fluid in his left elbow joint.

Houston is just 11-16 at home.

Michigan-born right-hander Josh Collmenter makes his fourth start in just his 11th major league appearance for the Diamondbacks this afternoon and will be facing the Astros.for the first time.

Collmenter, a 25-year-old draft pick from 2007, was beaten, 12-4, at Colorado in his last start on May 24 after allowing five hits and two earned runs in 4 1/3 innings.

He began the season with seven straight relief outings before consecutive starts at Los Angeles and against Atlanta yielded victories on May 14 and 19. In his first two starts, he allowed just four hits in 12 scoreless innings with no walks and four strikeouts.

Overall, in 30 1/3 innings, he's given up 17 hits and four earned runs, allowing runs in just two of 10 outings.

Houston counters with lefty J.A. Happ, who'll try to snap a two-start skid.

The ex-Philadelphia Phillie, acquired in last season's Roy Oswalt trade, got within a game of .500 with a 7-3 defeat of the New York Mets on May 14 with six innings of five-hit, two-run ball.

Two subsequent starts have ended in losses to St. Louis and Los Angeles, however, in which the southpaw has allowed seven hits and eight runs - four earned - in 11 innings.

He's split two career starts against Arizona while being touched for nine hits and four runs in 13 innings.

The Diamondbacks have won 10 of their last 13 versus the Astros.

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