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PIT@STL: Morton holds Cards to two runs over six

Before his last start, D-backs left-hander Wade Miley had gone 2 1/2 months without allowing more than three earned runs in a start, a span of 12 outings. During that stretch, the 26-year-old boasted a 2.34 ERA and Arizona won eight of the dozen games he started.

But on Monday against the Orioles, the red-hot Miley cooled off a bit, surrendering four earned runs for the first time since May 31. Although he still managed to give his club seven innings, the southpaw wasn't pleased with his performance.

"I really didn't have good stuff, I was just pitching with my fastball," Miley said after the game. "I just tried to battle and get through it."

The D-backs hope Miley returns to the dominant form he displayed throughout June, July and the early part of August when he gets the ball Sunday in the club's rubber match with the Pirates in Pittsburgh.

Miley will be looking for his second win of the season against the National League Central leaders. He beat the Pirates back in his second start of the year on April 10 by tossing 6 2/3 innings and giving up just two runs on five hits in a 10-2 D-backs victory.

Opposing the Arizona lefty for Pittsburgh will be Charlie Morton, who is coming off a steady outing against the Cardinals on Tuesday in which he kept St. Louis off the board the first five innings of the game before surrendering a pair in the sixth.

"He gave us a good start," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said after the game. "He has good command of the fastball; real solid through five."

Pirates: Karstens and Grilli progressing
• Jeff Karstens played catch on Friday, exactly 10 weeks following the shoulder surgery from which doctors said recovery would take 10-12 weeks. Karstens, who had come to town for medical evaluations of the joint's strength, again threw flat-ground on Saturday and will return to Pirate City on Monday to continue the throwing progression laid out for him.

• Jason Grilli (right forearm) also had a couple rounds of throws from 90 then 100 feet and, after a one-day break, plans to stretch out to 120 feet during the upcoming visit to San Diego. Beyond that, if he continues to make good progress, his return to mound work could be scheduled.

D-backs: Club impressed with Pittsburgh fans
• During this three-game series with the Pirates, the D-backs have had an up-close look at how excited the city of Pittsburgh is about its first-place team.

All three games of the series were expected to be sellouts.

"It's a different environment in Pittsburgh," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "It's a very good environment."

• The D-backs rank second in the National League with 35 comeback wins.

Worth noting
• Pedro Alvarez and Paul Goldschmidt each hit their 30th homers of the year on Saturday. The two sluggers are tied for for the NL lead.

• The D-backs are 23-15 this year in series finales.

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