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D-backs Look For Improbably Road Sweep Over Giants

(Sports Network) - Giants rookie Buster Posey is a big reason for the club's success, but a forearm strain has been bothering the young catcher lately. He is expected to be back in today's lineup versus the Arizona Diamondbacks in the finale of a three-game series at AT&T Park.

Posey was handed the starting job this season when veteran Bengie Molina was dealt to the Texas Rangers, and he's batting .329 with 10 homers and 49 RBI in 78 games. The Giants could have used Posey's power in Saturday's 11-3 loss in which another starting pitcher was hammered. A day after Tim Lincecum gave up four runs over six innings in a series-opening loss, Barry Zito was touched for nine runs -- seven earned -- on six hits and five walks in 3 2/3 innings.

"I'm just not in a good rhythm. The pitches just aren't crisp right now," said Zito, who was in trouble after giving up six runs in the first inning. "It requires working hard between starts."

Pablo Sandoval homered and both Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff were credited with an RBI for San Francisco, which has dropped three in a row and fell 1 1/2 games behind Philadelphia for the wild card lead. The Phillies defeated San Diego Saturday afternoon, keeping the Giants six games in back of the Padres for the top spot in the NL West.

The last time Giants starter Matt Cain faced Arizona he tossed eight shutout innings for the win back on July 22 at Chase Field. He'll take on the D'Backs again this afternoon and is 6-4 with a respectable 3.22 earned run average in 16 career starts in this series.

Cain was 0-2 in three starts before beating Cincinnati the last time out on Monday, as he held the Reds to two runs and five hits and struck out seven batters in eight innings of work.

The bulky right-hander has won four of his previous six decisions and evened his 2010 mark to 10-10 in 26 starts. Cain is 7-3 with a 2.59 ERA in 13 home starts this season.

Arizona will try for its fourth straight win and a three-game sweep of the Giants today, and has outscored its NL West rivals by a 17-5 margin so far.

Daniel Hudson benefited from a six-run first innings and threw seven innings of two-run ball for the win last night, while relievers Sam Demel and Jordan Norberto each pitched a scoreless inning of relief.

"I was struggling early on. We had some long innings, it was kind of tough to stay warm, just kind of battled through it for a little while then the tempo of game started picking up a bit out there," Hudson said on the team's site. "I really got into a rhythm there at the end."

Adam LaRoche and Mark Reynolds both homered and finished with three RBI and two runs scored for the last-place Diamondbacks, who got a three-run double from Miguel Montero during the first-inning explosion.

Rodrigo Lopez hasn't won since July 8 versus Florida and is only 0-5 with a 6.90 earned run average in his last eight starts. Arizona is 1-7 in that span and will send Lopez to the mound Sunday for his 27th start.

Lopez last pitched in Tuesday's 5-0 loss at San Diego, as he surrendered five runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings of work. The effort dropped him to 5-12 this season to go along with a 5.09 ERA.

The righty is 0-1 in two starts against San Francisco this season and 0-2 in four career starts in this series. Lopez hasn't pitched well on the road this season, going 2-6 in 12 starts away from home.

The Giants are 7-4 against Arizona this season.