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Astros Run Smack Into The Suddenly-Better-At-Baseball D-backs; 5:10 P.M AZT

(Sports Network) - Recent trade acquisition Joe Saunders tries to make it two wins in a row for the first time since arriving in Arizona tonight, when the Diamondbacks meet the Houston Astros in the middle matchup of a three-game weekend series at Chase Field.

The red-hot hosts won Friday's opener, 4-3, on Augie Ojeda's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth inning. Adam LaRoche went 2-for-4 with two runs batted in and Gerardo Parra added two hits and a run scored for the Diamondbacks, who have won four in a row and seven of eight while outscoring their opponents by a 58-28 margin.

Aaron Heilman (5-5) earned the win with a scoreless top of the eighth and Juan Gutierrez worked a scoreless ninth to preserve the victory and earn his seventh save.

Wilton Lopez (5-1) suffered the loss after yielding the deciding run on one hit over one inning of work for the Astros, who had a three-game win streak snuffed out.

Saunders, a 29-year-old Virginia native, has won just two of seven starts since the late-July transaction that brought him to the National League from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for right-hander Dan Haren.

The left-hander allowed just three runs in 16 innings over his initial two NL outings, but then lost four in a row while surrendering 23 runs in his next 22 innings pitched. He bounced back for a win in his most recent effort, allowing two runs on 10 hits across eight innings in Arizona's 7-2 home triumph over San Diego on Monday.

Saunders has never faced the Astros.

Right-hander Bud Norris tries to restart a win streak for Houston when he opposes Saunders tonight. The 25-year-old, who won six games in 11 appearances as a rookie last season, was 2-7 this season before a seven-start unbeaten streak that saw him record four straight wins.

That run ended in his last performance, however, when Norris was touched for five runs on eight hits in a 5-1 loss to the New York Mets last Sunday in Queens.

Prior to that game, the Astros had won six straight Norris starts as he dropped his earned run average more than a run from 6.09 to 5.03.

The former sixth-round draft pick (2006) has lost his two career starts against the Diamondbacks, while giving up 12 runs in 11 hits in just six innings.

Arizona has now won four of five meetings with the Astros this season following Friday's result.