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Go West, Young Astros: Houston Opens Four-Game Set In Arizona

The D'Backs have taken 11 of the past 14 matchups with Houston, including a three-game sweep back in May. Does not bode well for the Astros, does it?

(Sports Network) - Daniel Hudson would be right up there with teammate Ian Kennedy in wins had it not been for a two-game slide late last month.

Hudson looks to draw closer to Kennedy's team-leading 14 wins when he toes the rubber Monday in the opener of a four-game series versus the Houston Astros at Chase Field. Hudson was able to snap the two-start funk in last Tuesday's 6-1 win at San Francisco, as he fired eight innings of one-run ball to push his record to 11-7 in 23 starts to go along with a 3.67 earned run average.

The right-hander, who was 7-0 in 12 starts from May 17-July 17, recorded a shaky win at Houston back on May 27 in a 7-6 victory. Hudson allowed six runs -- five earned -- and eight hits in six innings that day and is 1-0 with a lofty 5.25 ERA in two career starts against the Astros.

Arizona will need Hudson's best stuff in order to remain within striking distance of the Giants for the lead in the National League West Division. It is a half-game off the lead in the standings and can thank Kennedy for that after he helped defeat Los Angeles in Sunday's 4-3 victory in the desert. The right-hander allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings with three strikeouts and one walk.

"I just try to throw a quality game when I go out there," Kennedy said. "I made some pitches where I left some balls up and they got some hits off me. I just tried to let my team pick me up today and they really did."

David Hernandez pitched a scoreless eighth inning and closer J.J. Putz nailed down his 26th save in the ninth.Kelly Johnson hit a two-run homer and Cody Ransom added a pair of RBI for the Diamondbacks, who salvaged the finale of the three-game set with the Dodgers and won for the ninth time in 14 tries.

Arizona is 1-2 on a 10-game homestand which concludes with three games versus the New York Mets and its 13 wins since the All-Star break are third in the NL behind the Phillies (17) and Brewers (16). Justin Upton went 0-for-4 on Sunday and entered the matinee affair having hit safely in 16 of 17 contests.

Houston fell 40 games below the .500 mark at 37-77 following Sunday's 7-3 defeat at the hands of theMilwaukee Brewers in the finale of a three-game series at Minute Maid Park.

After taking two of three meetings with Cincinnati, the Astros were swept in the three games by the Brewers. Bud Norris was the latest victim of Milwaukee and gave up six runs on eight hits, including a home run to Prince Fielder, in five innings.

"Those guys can hit," said Norris. "I really didn't make all the pitches I wanted to make, and they hit all the bad ones, and even the one to Fielder I thought was a good one."

Carlos Lee knocked in a pair of runs and Jose Altuve collected two hits and an RBI for the Astros, who tied a franchise record by falling 40 games below .500 for the first time since 1963. They were the Colt .45's back then. Houston will commence a seven-game road trip tonight against the D'Backs and Dodgers, and has lost 12 of 15 games.

Houston is slated to send Wandy Rodriguez to the hill Monday night. Rodriguez has lost four of his last five decisions and previously toed the rubber in last Tuesday's 5-1 loss versus Cincinnati. The Reds pounded out five runs and four hits in Rodriguez's five innings on the hill, sending the lefty to a 7-8 mark in 20 starts with a 3.69 ERA. Rodriguez is 5-5 in 11 road starts this season and just 2-5 with a 6.35 ERA in seven career starts against the Diamondbacks. He has been bothered by a knot in his pitching shoulder.

Arizona swept a three-game series with Houston from May 27-29 at Minute Maid Park and has won 11 of the past 14 matchups in this series.

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