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Fri, Aug 23, 2013 - 7:05 PM ET
 

Diamondbacks-Phillies Preview

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After missing out on a prime opportunity to improve their postseason chances, the Arizona Diamondbacks won't have any time to feel sorry for themselves as they prepare to face one of the hottest pitchers in baseball.

Cole Hamels takes the mound for the Philadelphia Phillies, who look to deal fading Arizona a third straight defeat Friday night.

The Diamondbacks (65-61) entered their crucial four-game series with Cincinnati trailing the Reds by five games for the NL's second wild-card spot. They lost three times, though, including a 2-1 defeat Thursday, to fall seven back.

Paul Goldschmidt went 3 for 4 and Adam Eaton had two hits for Arizona, which had taken two of three from Central-leading Pittsburgh in its previous series.

"It's extremely tough,'' Eaton said. "Flying in here, we had high hopes. We ended up on the wrong side of things.''

The Diamondbacks allowed the eventual winning run in the eighth on one of their four wild pitches.

"It's very frustrating. Not a happy series. Disappointing," manager Kirk Gibson said. "We thought we had a good chance to win. They scored both of their runs (because of) wild pitches. It's tough to swallow.''

Facing Hamels (5-13, 3.61 ERA) may not be any more pleasant. He's been stellar over his last four starts, pitching at least seven innings in each while going 1-0 with a 1.45 ERA.

Hamels has improved his overall ERA nearly one full run since the beginning of July while giving up fewer than three runs in eight of nine outings during that stretch.

"I guess (the numbers are) getting back to normal," said Hamels, who is tied for the most losses in the NL while ranking near the bottom of the majors with a 3.30 run-support average. "You can't be satisfied with what's gone on in the past. You have to keep preparing for the next game."

The left-hander gave up two runs and walked five in six innings of a 2-1 loss to Arizona on May 9, which marked the opener of a four-game set these clubs wound up splitting.

Wade Miley didn't face Philadelphia in that series, but he struck out seven and allowed two hits in six scoreless innings to beat the Phillies on April 23, 2012, in his only start against them.

Miley (9-8, 3.56), like Hamels, began his current hot stretch in July. He is 5-1 with a 2.04 ERA over his last nine starts after allowing two runs and striking out eight in eight innings of Sunday's 4-2, 16-inning win over Pittsburgh.

"He has really simplified things," Gibson said. "He got in a spot earlier (in the season) where he was overthinking and he couldn't control the ball. Now he's just throwing the ball where he wants to more."

The left-hander looks to stay hot against a Philadelphia team that has won four of five after a dramatic 5-4 win over Colorado on Thursday.

The Phillies (57-70) trailed by three heading to the bottom of the eighth before Darin Ruf hit a two-run homer. In the ninth, Jimmy Rollins started a two-out rally with a double, stole third and scored on Michael Young's infield single.

Young scored the winning run on Domonic Brown's single.

"We're just out there having lots of fun, feeding off the energy we have in the clubhouse,'' Brown said. "We're trying to make a statement going into next year.''

Carlos Ruiz had three hits and is 10 for 16 (.625) in his last five for Philadelphia, which has won 11 of the last 13 home matchups with Arizona.

Tagged: Phillies, Diamondbacks, Cole Hamels

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