Venue: Chase Field
Chris Young is off to another strong start, and there's good reason to believe he can keep it going against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Young has keyed the Arizona Diamondbacks' best start in four years heading into the opener of a 10-game homestand Monday night against the Pirates.
Having a hot bat out of the gate is nothing new for Young. He hit .302 with three homers and 10 RBIs through the first 10 games of 2011, a year after batting .351 with three homers and 14 RBIs after nine games.
He's hit safely in eight of nine this season, batting .364 with six walks, and the Diamondbacks have won all four times he's homered. He has 11 RBIs and has stolen a base in each of the last two games.
Young homered and drove in three runs Sunday in a 5-2 win at Colorado. Arizona (6-3), off to its best start since opening 9-2 in 2008, salvaged the series finale after blowing leads in the first two games and losing each by one run.
"We're happy to get out of here with a win," manager Kirk Gibson told the Diamondbacks' official website. "We could have won more than the one game but we didn't."
Gibson hopes his team keeps up its winning ways at home, having gone 26-4 there since Aug. 8 - including two NL division series victories against Milwaukee. Arizona's homestand also includes four games against Atlanta and three with Philadelphia.
First up is a three-game set with the Pirates, who have been battered by Young. He's hit .365 with five homers and 16 RBIs in his last 16 games against them, including 8 for 22 with two home runs last season.
His center field counterpart also is off to a good start - Andrew McCutchen is hitting .333 - but right fielder Jose Tabata is 4 for 30 and the Pirates are batting .188 as a team.
Pittsburgh (3-6) snapped a five-game losing streak with a 4-1 win in San Francisco on Sunday as Garrett Jones hit his first home run.
"We just wanted to win a game," manager Clint Hurdle said after his team's first victory away from home. "This just happened to come on the road."
The Pirates are averaging 2.0 runs, a trend that already has plagued Erik Bedard (0-2, 2.25 ERA) entering his third start as a National Leaguer. The 10-year veteran left-hander lost the first two as Pittsburgh's lineup totaled one run.
Bedard allowed three runs over 12 innings, striking out seven and walking two.
"He competes and he never gives in," catcher Rod Barajas said. "He believes in himself and that makes it easier for me to call the game, because I know I can put down whatever signs and he's comfortable throwing it."
Bedard, 8-5 with a 1.86 ERA in 20 career starts versus NL clubs, did not get a decision in his only outing versus Arizona in 2007.
That's also the only year in which Joe Saunders (0-0, 0.00) pitched against the Pirates heading into his start Monday.
Saunders threw seven scoreless innings in a 2-1 loss at San Diego on Wednesday, his season debut. The lack of offensive help should be familiar to the left-hander, who went 3-6 in 15 regular-season home starts last year while getting no more than two runs of support in 11 of them.
These teams split six games last season. The Pirates have lost 14 of 19 in Arizona, last winning a series there in 2005.
Miguel Montero, who has homered in his last two games, hit .389 against Pittsburgh in 2011.
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