The temperatures are heating up in Phoenix, and the city's favorite baseball team is catching fire.
Following Saturday's 8-5 victory against the Blue Jays, the D-backs are riding a season-high four-game winning streak and have a chance to finish undefeated on the current five-game homestand.
It's quite a turnaround. The D-backs went 0-6 during their last homestand.
"We've set ourselves up nicely, we're playing better baseball, the momentum is in our favor, we've got our confidence back a little bit," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. "We need to take care of business [Sunday]."
Blue Jays starter Shaun Marcum has other plans. Toronto's ace has eight quality starts in nine outings, and the Jays have won in his last four starts. He could be exactly what Toronto needs. All three of Marcum's wins have come following losses.
"It's not going to be easy, Marcum is a good pitcher," Hinch said. "It's tough to sweep a team especially a potent team like this, but to be in position [to sweep] I think we've played pretty good baseball."
Marcum followed up a seven-inning, two-hit shutout in Boston by going another seven against Minnesota and allowing just one run.
As for the D-backs, they are looking for something positive from starter Billy Buckner in the finale. In his first start of the season, Buckner gave up two runs in five innings and suffered the loss against the Marlins on Tuesday. He had trouble the second time through the order, and his control failed him in the fourth, when he allowed a run during a six-pitch stretch that saw him issue two hit-by-pitches and a walk. In the fifth, he surrendered back-to-back two-out doubles off the left-field wall.
"I knew coming in they're aggressive, and I had to match their aggressiveness with my pitches, and we were able to do that for a while," Buckner said. "That was the difference in my outing was those six pitches alone, where I let it get away from me."
The D-backs, who are at the bottom of the NL West, could be on the verge of a turnaround in the standings.
"Hopefully we can just keep going and build momentum and take it into the next road trip," third baseman Mark Reynolds said.
Alex Gonzalez has hit safely in a season-high nine straight games and is batting .353 (12-for-34) during that stretch. ... Mike McCoy went 0-for-2 Saturday, extending his career-high hitless at-bat streak to 16. ... The Blue Jays left two runners on base and were 2-for-3 with runners in scoring position Saturday. The club is 2-for-6 in the series.
D-backs at the plate
Adam LaRoche, Chris Young and Justin Upton all picked up their 13th multi-hit games of the season Saturday. ... Arizona is now 5-3 in the all-time series against the Blue Jays, going 3-2 at Chase Field.
The D-backs have scored at least eight runs in four consecutive games, marking only the fourth time in franchise history they have done so. The D-backs also scored at least eight runs in four straight games April 23-26, 2001, and May 6-9, 2000, and in seven consecutive games May 29-June 5, 1999.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.