Wilson pitches in for Indy no-hitter

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Justin Wilson
Justin Wilson

ATLANTA — Justin Wilson’s 107th pitch in the game last night for Triple-A Indianapolis was ball four to Durham’s Jeff Salazar. When manager Dean Treanor went out to remove Wilson from the game, the fans booed — but they were booing Treanor, because Wilson was in the midst of tossing a no-hitter.

Wilson went held the Bulls hitless for 7 1/3 innings. Relievers Jose Diaz and Doug Slaten worked the final 1 2/3 innings to close out Indy’s first no-hitter since Ian Snell shut down Norfolk on May 15, 2005. “It felt awesome,” Wilson said. “Obviously, I would have loved to have finished it, but I understand (Treanor) has to make that decision.”

Wilson said he didn’t realize his pitch count was so high when Treanor came to the mound to take him out. “I said, ‘I’m not coming out,’ ” Wilson said. “And (Treanor) said, ‘Yeah, you are.’ He was pretty serious about it. He said, ‘This isn’t about today. It’s about years from now. We have to protect you and your arm.’ ” Management has set very strict limits on pitches and innings for the minor leaguers. In recent years, at least two minor league coaches have been disciplined by the Pirates for exceeding those limits.

Wilson walked two batters and struck out nine. Diaz and Slaten retired the final five batters on two fly outs and three grounders. “I’m glad I didn’t blow it for Willy. He pitched a helluva game,” said Slaten, who got Reid Brignac on a roller to second base for the final out.

It was just the second time in his career that Wilson (2-3, 3.00 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) pitched into the eighth inning of a game he’d started. The 24-year-old lefty was the Pirates’ fifth-round pick in 2008 out of Fresno State, and this year was placed on the 40-man roster. He’s been a fast riser in the farm system — he spent 2009 at High-A Lynchburg, 2010 at Double-A Altoona and all of last year at Indy. He worked out of the bullpen for part of 2011 — and saw a significant spike in velocity — but returned to the rotation this season. Wilson today was named the International League pitcher of the week.

»»» RHP James McDonald takes a five-game road losing streak into his start tonight. Coincidentally, McDonald’s last win away from PNC Park came at Turner Field on July 25, 2011.

»»» Over the past six games, the Pirates have notched 23 extra-base hits (19 doubles and four homers). They had 22 extra-base hits over their first 15 games.

»»» Jameson Taillon yesterday notched his first Florida State League win for High-A Bradenton. He threw five scoreless innings, and hasn’t allowed a run in his past 11 innings overall.

»»» Right-handers Johnny Cueto (3-0, 1.39), Mat Latos (1-2, 5.97) and Bronson Arroyo (1-0, 2.70) are set to pitch for the Reds this weekend at PNC Park.

»»» Reliever Tim Alderson was sent back to Altoona. That cleared a roster spot at Indy for Daniel Cabrera, who came off the disabled list.

Game 22: Pirates @ Braves, 7:10 p.m. ET

Pirates (9-12): 1. Jose Tabata rf, 2. Josh Harrison ss, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Casey McGehee 1b, 5. Neil Walker 2b, 6. Yamaico Navarro lf, 7. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 8. Rod Barajas c, 9. James MCDonald rhp (0-1, 2.78)

Braves (14-8): 1. Michael Bourn cf, 2. Martin Prado lf, 3. Freddie Freeman 1b, 4. Brian McCann c, 5. Dan Uggla 2b, 6. Chipper Jones 3b, 7. Eric Hinske rf, 8. Tyler Pastornicky ss, 9. Mike Minor lhp (2-1, 3.42)

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Bedard bunts, wins

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ATLANTA — Lefty Erik Bedard last night picked up his first victory since Sept. 13, 2011, when he was hurling for the Red Sox. He also dropped down his first sacrifice bunt of the season and just the second of his nine-year career. The first one came in an interleague game May 20, 2007, when Bedard pitched for the Orioles against the Nationals. Overall, the Pirates racked up 14 strikeouts, including nine by Bedard. It was the team’s most Ks in a nine-inning game since June 26, 2005, when the Pirates got 15 whiffs against the Reds.

»»» This stat continues to blow me away, in a couple different ways: the Pirates are 9-2 when the score more than one run. So, if they push across more than one stinkin’ run, the Pirates have a great chance to win any game. But so far, coming up with a pair of runs has been akin to climbing Mt. Everest without oxygen — possible, but incredibly tedious and still rare enough to be a thrill when it happens. As for scoring, say, a half-dozen or more runs in a game … well, the Chinese might put a man on the moon (they’re making plans!) before that kind of Buccos scoring spree happens.

»»» Pedro Alvarez has nine hits this season. Seven of them have gone for extra-bases (four homers, three doubles). The RBI double Alvarez collected in the fifth inning last night was clobbered about as well as possible without sending the ball out of the yard. He smoked it.

»»» Larry Stone of the Seattle Times chatted with former Milwaukee Braves infielder Johnny O’Brien, who reminisced about his up-close view of Harvey Haddix’s perfect game that wasn’t, back in 1959.

»»» Braves shortstop Tyler Pastornicky has done well against Pirates pitching, going 3 for 7 with a walk, one RBI and a run scored. Over his past four games, the rookie is 7 for 13, including a pair of multi-hit games.

»»» Having trouble finding my blog on the redesigned (and still under construction) TribLive website? You’re not alone. For the time being, don’t look for a link on the Pirates-specific page of the site. Instead, look for the link under the Pirates section on the general sports page.

Game 21: Pirates @ Braves, 1:35 p.m. ET

Pirates (9-10): 1. Alex Presley lf, 2. Jose Tabata rf, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Garrett Jones rf, 5. Neil Walker 2b, 6. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 7. Clint Barmes ss, 8. Michael McKenry c, 9. Kevin Correia rhp (1-0, 2.00)

Braves (13-8): 1. Michael Bourn cf, 2. Martin Prado lf, 3. Freddie Freeman 1b, 4. Brian McCann c, 5. Dan Uggla 2b, 6. Chipper Jones 3b, 7. Jason Heyward rf, 8. Tyler Pastornicky ss, 9. Tim Hudson rho (season debut)

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Run-scoring drought in NL Central

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ATLANTA — In the first month of the post-Pujols era, the Cardinals have a run differential of plus-50. Amazing. The Astros are plus-10. (That probably won’t last forever). Everyone else in the NL Central is on the wrong side of the ledger: the Reds are minus-10, the Pirates are minus-15, the Cubs are minus-20 and the Prince-less Brewers are minus-22.

»»» Here’s the lastest “update” from the Pirates about Jeff Karstens’ sore right shoulder: “Jeff is in Florida working through the rehab process of strengthening his shoulder.  He continues to report daily improvement.  The next step will be his return to pitch program that will begin upon successful completion of rest and rehab.”

»»» Having trouble finding my blog on the redesigned (and still under construction) TribLive website? You’re not alone. For the time being, don’t look for the link on the Pirates-specific page of the site. Instead, look for the link under the Pirates section on our general sports page.

»»» The only two non-pitchers on the active roster without an extra-base hit? Yamaico Navarro (1 for 13) and Neil Walker (13 for 58). Only two position players without an RBI? Rod Barajas and Jose Tabata.

»»» How young is Nats phenom Bryce Harper, who makes his big league debut Saturday? J.J. Cooper of Baseball America points out that Harper, 19, is two years younger than everyone else in the majors.

Game 20: Pirates @ Braves, 7:10 p.m. ET

Pirates (8-11): 1. Alex Presley lf, 2. Jose Tabata rf, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Garrett Jones rf, 5. Neil Walker 2b, 6. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 7. Clint Barmes ss, 8. Rod Barajas c, 9. Erik Bedard lhp (0-4, 2.63)

Braves (13-7): 1. Michael Bourn cf, 2. Martin Prado lf, 3. Freddie Freeman 1b, 4. Dan Uggla 2b, 5. Jason Heyward rf, 6. David Ross c, 7. Juan Francisco 3b, 8. Tyler Pastornicky ss, 9. Randall Delgado rhp (2-1, 5.74)

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Bell has knee surgery

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httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1KwjB1bI3E

ATLANTA — Josh Bell, one of the Pirates’ top prospects — and perhaps their only legit power hitter in the minors — had surgery today to repair the meniscus in his left knee. The operation was performed in Pittsburgh by Dr. Patrick DeMeo, and Bell will soon begin his rehab in Bradenton, Fla. The Pirates expect Bell to be back in action before this season is over.

Bell was injured Tuesday while running the bases in a game with Low-A West Virginia. In 15 games, Bell hit .274 with one homer and 11 RBI and had a .691 OPS. He also made two errors in the outfield. The Pirates gambled last year by drafting Bell in the second round after he told teams he planned to attend college. They changed his mind by offering a $5 million signing bonus, the fourth-largest in franchise history.

Game 19: Pirates @ Braves, 7:35 p.m. ET

Pirates (8-10): 1. Alex Presley lf, 2. Clint Barmes ss, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Garrett Jones rf, 5. Neil Walker 2b, 6. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 7. Casey McGehee 1b, 8. Rod Barajas c, 9. A.J. Burnett rhp (1-0, 0.00)

Braves (12-7): 1. Michael Bourn cf, 2. Martin Prado lf, 3. Freddie Freeman 1b, 4. Brian McCann c, 5. Dan Uggla 2b, 6. Chipper Jones 3b, 7. Jason Heyward rf, 8. Tyler Pastornicky ss, 9. Tommy Hanson rhp (2-2, 3.38)

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Patience key against Moyer

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RHP Jamie Moyer tonight will make his 690th career outing and his 632nd start (which ranks him No. 16 all-time). The 49-year-old lefty was a non-roster invitee to Rox spring training camp and earned a spot in the rotation. He is the oldest pitcher in major league history to win a game.

Moyer obviously still can be effective on the mound, but he’s certainly not blowing anyone away with his low 80s mph fastball. “It’s all about discipline,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “You know what you’re going to get. If your mindset is to jump a pitch with Jamie Moyer, you’re going to play into his strengths. Because it’s all about deception, it’s about late life, it’s about movement. I think (Mark) Kotsay, who’s had trememdous success against him, said he’s the kind of guy you have to be aggressively patient with. You have to be ready to hit. You’re gonna get pitches to hit. But he’s also going to try to take you outside the strike zone. He sinks the ball, he changes speeds, he will pitch inside, he stays out of the middle of the plate.”

»»» The rainout Monday will be made up Wednesday as part of a doubleheader, starting at 12:35 p.m. The second game will begin a half-hour after the first one ends. The Pirates and Rockies have played one DH previously — a split on May 13, 2004 at Coors Field. The Pirates’ last doubleheader sweep at PNC Park happened Aug. 28, 2007 against Cincinnati. There have been 33 postponed game at PNC Park, 30 due to weather and three caused by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Last season, the Pirates had three home games postponed.

»»» Casey McGehee is 8 for 17 (.471) with runners on base. He’s batting cleanup tonight for the seventh time this season, second on the team behind Neil Walker (eight).

»»» At Double-A Altoona, RHP Aaron Pribanic (right shoulder) and INF Jarek Cunningham (left wrist) were placed on the disabled list.

»»» Former Pitt standout and Pirates minor leaguer Jim Negrych signed a minor league deal with the Nationals.

Game 16: Rockies @ Pirates, 7:05 p.m. ET

Rockies (8-7): 1. Marco Scutaro 2b, 2. Dexter Fowler cf, 3. Carlos Gonzalez lf, 4. Troy Tulowitzky 5. Todd Helton 1b, 6. Michael Cuddyer rf, 7. Ramon Hernandez c, 8. Chris Nelson 3b, 9. Jamie Moyer lhp (1-2, 2.55)

Pirates (6-9): 1. Alex Presley lf, 2.Jose Tabata rf, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Casey McGehee 1b, 5. Neil Walker 2b, 6. Yamaico Navarro 3b, 7. Rod Barajas c, 8. Clint Barmes ss, 9. Kevin Correia rhp (1-0, 1.50)

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Hanny back in action

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After a four-day layoff due to a sore hamstring, closer Joel Hanrahan last night picked up his second save. It wasn’t exactly a clean inning — Hanny issued back-to-back walks, but he also got two strikeouts and ended the game by inducing a ground ball forceout. “Felt good to be back out there,” Hanrahan said this morning, adding that his hammy feels fine today after the outing.

Hanrahan began the inning in impressive fashion by striking out Carlos Beltran on three pitches. “You can’t cut up a hitter any better than than, a bit-time, big league hitter,” manager Clint Hurdle said. But that was followed by five-pitch walks to David Freese and Yadier Molina, which made things interesting. “Interesting? Nah,” Hanrahan joked.

When Hannay fell behind pinch-hitter Erik Komatsu, 3-1, there was some lively talk in the Pirates’ dugout. “We had a nice little conversation about what the next move was going to be,” Hurdle said. “My pitching coach and I had gotten to a place where we were going to agree to disagree about what was next if there was a ball four.” There wasn’t. Komatsu struck out, then Shane Robinson hit a grounder to third to end it.

maddox»»» Here’s some trivia, courtesy of the folks at Elias: A.J. Burnett last night became the first pitcher to work at least seven shutout innings and notch at least seven strikeouts in his Pirates debut since Nick Maddox, who did it on Sept. 13, 1907.

»»» Alex Presley has hit safely in a career-best seven straight games. He also has hit safely in 12 of his 13 starts in left field, and his batting .311. However, Presley is getting a breather today, as Nate McLouth will start in left.

»»» Forecasters are calling for nasty, snowy weather Monday, which jeopardizes the game between the Pirates and (appropriately enough) Rockies. Will the game be called early? Perhaps. Both teams have an off day scheduled Thursday, which would make for an easy makeup day. This is the Rockies’ only trip to Pittsburgh this season.

»»» It was just announced that RHP Kevin Correia, who was scratched last night due to a sore left side, will start Monday against the Rox. Brad Lincoln, who had been slated to pitch Monday,will work out of the bullpen .

Game 16: Cardinals @ Pirates, 1:35 p.m. ET

Cardinals (10-5): 1. Rafael Furcal ss, 2. Tyler Greene 2b, 3. Matt Holliday lf, 4. Carlos Beltran rf, 5. David Freese 3b, 6. Yadier Molina c, 7. Matt Carpenter 1b, 8. Shane Robinson cf, 9. Kyle Lohse rhp (2-0, 0.89)

Pirates (6-8): 1. Nate McLouth lf, 2.Jose Tabata rf, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Neil Walker 2b, 5. Garrett Jones 1b, 6. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 7. Clint Barmes ss, 8. Michael McKenry c, 9. Erik Bedard lhp (0-3, 2.65)

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Burnett will debut tonight

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A.J. Burnett will make his Pirates debut tonight against the St. Louis Cardinals. Burnett was activated from the disabled list to take the place of righty Kevin Correia, who had some stiffness in his left side. Correia said he feels fine now — he threw a bullpen earlier today without problem — but management wanted to play it safe and give him some extra rest. Burnett had been slated to make his final rehab start tonight with Double-A Altoona.

Correia could make his next start Monday against the Rockies. At the moment, Brad Lincoln is listed as the starter for that game, but manager Clint Hurdle could reshuffle his rotation. If that happens, don’t feel bad for Lincoln; he will fill Jeff Karstens’ spot in the rotation for at least the next couple of weeks. Karstens has been shut down for seven to 10 days due to a sore shoulder. Results of an arthrogram and other tests on Karstens’ injury have been sent to Dr. James Andrews for evaluation.

»»» To clear a roster spot for Burnett, reliever Jared Hughes was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Last night, Hughes threw three innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits. That extended outing put him out of commission for a day or two, so Hughes was the natural choice to take off the roster.

»»» Closer Joel Hanrahan (hamstring) expects to be ready to go tonight. “I’ve worked out every day since it happened (last Sunday),” Hanrahan said. “I felt good yesterday, but to day I feel even better.” Hanrahan has not pitched in a game since tweaking his hammy while getting the final out of his first save Sunday in San Francisco.

Game 14: Cardinals @ Pirates, 7:05 p.m. ET

Cardinals (10-4): 1. Rafael Furcal ss, 2. Matt Carpenter 1b, 3. Matt Holliday lf, 4. Carlos Beltran rf, 5. David Freese 3b, 6. Yadier Molina c, 7. Daniel Descalso 2b, 8. Shane Robinson cf, 9. Jake Westbrook rhp (2-0, 0.64)

Pirates (5-8): 1. Alex Presley lf, 2.Jose Tabata rf, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Neil Walker 2b, 5. Casey McGehee 1b, 6. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 7. Clint Barmes ss, 8. Rod Barajas c, 9. Kevin Correia rhp (1-0, 1.50)

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Lincoln arrives, Karstens on DL

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httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1rIxVeo28w

PHOENIX — Brad Lincoln already is in the Pirates’ clubhouse and will be available to pitch out of the bullpen, if necessary, this afternoon against the D’backs. Lincoln was recalled from Triple-A Indy when RHP Jeff Karstens (right shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list.

Karstens took himself out of the game last night after working one inning and allowing two runs on three hits. Late last season, Karstens missed two starts due to soreness in the same shoulder. Karstens dodged reporters all morning, then, when I caught up with him on the field during batting practice told me, “I’m not ready to talk (about the injury) until I know more about it.” I’m no doctor, but that sounds like an ominous sign.

Lincoln will start Tuesday against the Colorado Rockies at PNC Park. In two starts for Indy, Lincoln was 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA. He’d allowed 10 hits, walked none and gotten nine strikeouts in 12 innings. “Both really quality starts,” Lincoln said. “Today was my scheduled day to pitch, so I’m as fresh as can be. I’ll help out the bullpen today.” Lincoln found out he was Phoenix-bound about 12:30 this morning, and caught the first flight out of Indy.

»»» RHP A.J. Burnett threw a bullpen session this morning as pitching coach Ray Searage looked on. “There are some things I can get done here (with Searage) that I can’t get done anywhere else,” Burnett said. Burnett will make his final rehab start Saturday with Double-A Altoona, then will jump into the Pirates’ rotation. “I’m good right now,” Burnett said. “But I’m not one to cause ripples. I can always use an extra start.”

»»» Joel Hanrahan (hamstring) almost certainly will not be available today, although manager Clint Hurdle refused before the game to comment on Hanny’s status.

»»» Double-A Altoona put OF Andrew Lambo on the seven-day DL due to an unspecified right wrist injury.

Game 12: Pirates @ Arizona, 3:40 p.m. ET

Pirates (4-7): 1. Alex Presley lf, 2. Clint Barmes ss, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Neil Walker 2b, 5. Casey McGehee 1b, 6. Garrett Jones rf, 7. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 8. Michael McKenry c, 9. James McDonald rhp (0-1, 3.86)

Diamondbacks (7-4): 1. Willie Bloomquist ss, 2. Aaron Hill 2b, 3. Jason Kubel rf, 4. Miguel Montero c, 5. Ryan Roberts 3b, 6. Lyle Overbay 1b, 7. A.J. Pollock cf, 8. Gerardo Parra lf, 9. Daniel Hudson rhp (1-0, 8.71)

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Sore shoulder benches Karstens

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PHOENIX — Pirates pitcher Jeff Karstens left tonight’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks after just one inning due to inflammation in his right shoulder. Karstens will be examined when the team returns to Pittsburgh after Wednesday afternoon’s game and more information about his status is expected on Thursday.

The Pirates scored a run in the top of the first inning on Garrett Jones’ two-out, RBI single. However, the Diamondbacks got two runs in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, Chris Young doubled, Miguel Montero lined an RBI single and Jason Kubel blasted a run-scoring double high off the center field wall.

In the second inning, reliever Jared Hughes already was warming up when Karstens came up to bat with two outs. Karstens struck out with an awkward, lunging swing. Hughes took over on the mound to start the bottom of the second, and gave up a run to put Arizona up 3-1.

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Burnett to make another rehab start

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PHOENIX — MLB has released the 2012 draft order. The Pirates have the eighth overall pick in the first round — their latest opening-round selection since 2005, when they nabbed Andrew McCutchen with the 11th pick. In each of the past six years, the club owned one of the first four picks.

The Pirates also will get the 45th overall pick as compensation for losing free agent Ryan Doumit, the 69th pick (second round), the 103rd pick (third round) and the 136th pick (fourth round). The draft will begin at 7 p.m. June 4

The Houston Astros got a comp pick at No. 41 because the Pirates signed free agent Clint Barmes. The Los Angeles Dodgers will choose at No. 51 as compensation for the Pirates’ signing of Rod Barajas. Four teams — the Blue Jays, Cardinals, Red Sox and Brewers — have two first-round picks. The Cardinals will make five of the first 59 selections.

»»» Before the game yesterday, manager Clint Hurdle gushed about how Chase Field is a hitter-friendly park. That didn’t help the Pirates, though, who collected just six hits in a 5-1 loss. Perhaps this explains it: Since the start of the 2006 season, the D’backs are 15-5 (.750) against the Pirates at Chase Field. That’s their best home record against any NL team in that timeframe. Consider, too, that the D’backs have won 27 of their past 31 games at Chase Field, dating back to last season and including a pair of playoff victories.

PREGAME UPDATES:

»»» D’Backs OF Justin Upton is getting MRI on jammed thumb and might go on the DL. Chris Young is in center field tonight for Arizona.

»»» RHP A.J. Burnett will arrive at Chase Field later tonight. He will throw a side tomorrow in front of pitching coach Ray Searage, then fly back to Pittsburgh with the team. Burnett will make his fourth rehab start Saturday with Double-A Altoona. “One more start and then we’ll go from there, barring any setbacks,” manager Clint Hurdle said. Burnett seems likely to make his Pirates debut on the road against Atlanta. Monday, Burnett pitched for Triple-A Indianapolis and allowed five runs on seven hits in four innings. He walked four, struck out none and gave up two homers, including a solo shot by ex-Bucco Brad “Big Country” Eldred.

Game 11: Pirates @ Arizona, 9:40 p.m. ET

Pirates (3-7): 1. Alex Presley lf, 2. Nate McLouth rf, 3. Andrew McCutchen rf, 4. Neil Walker 2b, 5. Garrett Jones 1b, 6. Rod Barajas c, 7. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 8. Clint Barmes ss, 9. Jeff Karstens rhp (0-1, 3.27)

Diamondbacks (7-3): 1. Willie Bloomquist ss, 2. Gerardo Parra lf, 3. Chris Young cf, 4. Miguel Montero c, 5. Jason Kubel rf, 6. Ryan Roberts 3b, 7. Lyle Overbay 1b, 8. Aaron Hill 2b, 9. Ian Kennedy rhp (2-0, 2.84)

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