May 25, 2014

NEW YORK -- The Arizona Diamondbacks believe they have the pitching necessary to keep their winning streak going. Unfortunately for the New York Mets, their offensive firepower, or lack thereof, might be enough to keep their season spiraling out of control.

The Diamondbacks will look to complete an unlikely sweep Thursday afternoon when they visit the Mets in the finale of a three-game series at Citi Field. Arizona won its third straight game Wednesday night when catcher Oscar Hernandez hit a go-ahead homer in the 12th inning of a 3-2 victory.

Rookie right-hander Braden Shipley will make his fourth career start when he takes the mound for the 12:10 ET game. Shipley did not factor into the decision in his most recent start last Friday when he allowed two runs, four hits and six walks while striking out two in six innings in Arizona's 3-2, 11-inning win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Diamondbacks (47-66) will be thrilled if Shipley can approximate the results produced Tuesday and Wednesday by right-hander Zack Greinke and left-hander Robbie Ray, who combined to allow three runs in 13 innings in their starts.

Ray threw seven shutout innings Wednesday night, when he was in line for the win until closer Jake Barrett gave up a two-run pinch-homer to Kelly Johnson.

"Shipley's going to come out here (Thursday) and do a good job and we're going to do our best to get this sweep here," Ray said.

A sweep by the Diamondbacks would provide a little bit of solace in a lost season while providing a potentially lethal blow to the playoff hopes of the reeling Mets (57-56), who are trying to hang on in the race for the second wild card in the National League. New York is 2 1/2 games behind the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals.

"We haven't really had the season that we wanted to, but we're still coming out every day," Ray said. "Wins like these are huge for us."

Gut-wrenching losses like Wednesday's are becoming commonplace for the Mets, who have lost their last seven one-run games dating to July 27.

"If you can't get over it, and you're going to let it linger in this league, you're going to have a tough time winning," Mets manager Terry Collins said.

The Mets have not won consecutive games since July 6-7. They are 10-18 since then, a stretch in which New York has scored three runs or fewer 18 times.

"We've got to find a groove here," Johnson said. "I know one thing: These things tend to change. I think eventually we'll get on a little bit of a run, and it's going to be fun when we do. We've got some time left to do it."

Right-hander Noah Syndergaard is scheduled to oppose Shipley. Syndergaard is 0-3 with a 3.49 ERA in his last five starts. He took the loss last Friday when he gave up four runs, seven hits and two walks while striking out seven in six innings as the Mets fell to the Detroit Tigers 4-3.

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