D-backs look to ride hot hand in Scherzer

D-backs look to ride hot hand in Scherzer

PHOENIX -- A.J. Hinch doesn't ask for much. One nice, easy, clean game. He is 21 games into his tenure as Arizona manager and is still waiting.

Maybe No. 22 will be the one. In Sunday's finale of the seven-game homestand and four-game Atlanta series, Hinch will send torrid Max Scherzer to the mound against winless Kris Medlen.

The rejuvenated D-backs are on the winning track, with nine victories in their past 15 games, but it has not been a joyride. Rather, there have been a series of survivals and comebacks. Saturday's 3-2 win in 11 innings was typical -- only Arizona's sixth win in 30 games in which they've trailed entering the seventh.

Scherzer offers hope for a simple conclusion to the Chase Field stand. The young righty who had to wait through 23 appearances for his first Major League victory -- over these same Braves two weeks ago in Atlanta -- is now streaking in the other direction.

In his past three starts, Scherzer is 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 19 innings.

He will try to gain for the D-backs consecutive home wins for only the second time this season. Arizona has not managed the modest feat since April 26 and 27, when it defeated the Giants and the Cubs in consecutive home games.

A win on Sunday would also send the D-backs to Los Angeles, and the start of a week-long California trip, with a 3-3 homestand.

Pitching matchup
ARI: RHP Max Scherzer (2-3, 3.38 ERA)
Scherzer had to go 22 games and 13 starts before getting his first big league win, but the right-hander now has two in his past three starts. Last time out against the Padres, he was dominating through seven innings as Arizona built a six-run lead. Scherzer tired in the eighth and gave up a homer and single to lead off the frame before being removed. The bullpen struggled, allowing three more runs to score and pull the Padres to within two. Despite a heart-stopping ninth, which he watched from the training room, Scherzer picked up the win as the D-backs held on, 6-5. The right-hander struck out 10 in the game and did not walk a batter. He picked up his first big league win May 16 against the Braves in Atlanta.

ATL: RHP Kris Medlen (0-2, 9.72 ERA)
Medlen's control has hurt him during his first two career starts. After throwing just 43 of 80 pitches for strikes during his Major League debut on May 21, the 23-year-old right-hander returned Tuesday and issued just two walks in 5 1/3 innings against the Giants. The most costly walk was issued to Tim Lincecum with two outs in what would become a four-run second inning. Medlen's inability to retire Lincecum provided further proof that he's allowing his nerves to get the best of him during pressure situations. He ended Tuesday's outing by retiring the final 11 batters he faced.

Josh Whitesell, who was recalled from Triple-A Reno when Chad Tracy (strained right oblique) went on the 15-day disabled list and arrived in about the sixth inning of Saturday's game, will draw the start at first base on Sunday. ... Although he was scratched from Saturday's lineup with a bruised left quad after being struck by a line drive during batting practice, Augie Ojeda is fine and could see action on Sunday. ... Justin Upton (0-for-4 with a walk) was hitless for consecutive games for the first time since April 11-13. ... Chris Young's single in the seventh inning Saturday was the second pinch-hit of his career in 10 at-bats.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FS-A

On radio
• KTAR 620, KSUN 1400 (Español)

Up next
• Monday: D-backs (Billy Buckner, 1-1, 7.16) at Dodgers (Hiroki Kuroda, 1-0, 1.59), 7:10 p.m. MST
• Tuesday: D-backs (Dan Haren, 4-4, 2.54) at Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw, 3-3, 4.34), 7:10 p.m. MST
• Wednesday: D-backs (Jon Garland, 4-4, 5.75) at Dodgers (Randy Wolf, 3-1, 2.84), 7:10 p.m. MST

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.