Diamondbacks-Pirates Preview

Pedro Florimon unexpectedly provided the latest drama for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are dominating opponents at home.

They'll look to make things easier on themselves in the finale of this three-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night.

Pittsburgh (70-47) has won five of six with three of the victories decided in extra innings, including Tuesday's 9-8 win that came on Florimon's walkoff triple in the 15th.

"You've just got to keep playing. Sometimes when things get late, funny things happen," manager Clint Hurdle said, alluding to the light-hitting shortstop's second hit in 19 at-bats on the season.

The Pirates' 16-4 record in their last 20 home games is the best in the majors over that span. It's a big reason why they're 2 1/2 games ahead of Chicago for the NL's first wild-card spot.

J.A. Happ (0-1, 4.66 ERA), acquired at the trade deadline from Seattle, is looking to make a better impression at PNC Park. He gave up four runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 5-0 loss to the Cubs in his Pirates debut Aug. 4 at home.

The left-hander was better in Friday's 3-2, 10-inning win over the New York Mets, yielding one run and seven hits with seven strikeouts in 5 1-3. Still, he's 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA over his last six starts - four with Seattle.

"This put J.A. into a really good place after the first outing," Hurdle told MLB's official website Friday. "He's got to feel much better about himself. That's the kind of guy we've seen on video.

"He knows he's got it in himself, and it was good for him to get it out, and put it in play."

Happ is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in four games - three starts - versus the Diamondbacks, his last start against them coming with Houston in 2011. He faced them out of the bullpen with the Mariners on July 27, striking out two in a perfect ninth of a 4-3 loss that ended an inning later.

Pedro Alvarez is 4 for 8 with three RBIs in this series. The first baseman has a .484 average with four homers while driving in eight runs in the past nine games.

He's gone 7 for 15 with six RBIs in the last four meetings with Arizona (58-60).

The Diamondbacks, who took the series opener 4-1 on Monday, will hand the ball to Robbie Ray (3-8, 3.29). The rookie left-hander is 0-4 with a 5.06 ERA in six starts and has lost three straight with a 5.87 mark.

Ray is coming off his shortest start of the season, giving up three runs and walking four in 4 1-3 innings of a 3-2 defeat at Atlanta on Friday.

He surrendered four runs and struck out five in five innings with Detroit in a 4-2 road defeat in his only meeting with Pittsburgh on Aug. 12, 2014.

Paul Goldschmidt, who has never faced Happ, has gone 1 for 12 over the last three games. That's dropped his average to .333 and left him in a tie with Miami's Dee Gordon for the NL batting lead.

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