The D-backs and Royals meet Tuesday for the start of a three-game series with Kansas City on a roll of late.
The Royals claimed their ninth win in 12 games with a 4-2 win over the Athletics on Sunday. The victory ensured a series win for KC over Oakland, who hold MLB's best record. The Royals now trail first-place Detroit by five games in the American League Central and the Blue Jays by 1 1/2 games for the second AL Wild Card spot.
Kansas City, in search of its fifth straight series win, sends the perfect guy to the mound in the series opener in Danny Duffy.
The left-hander enters Tuesday allowing two runs or fewer in eight of his last nine starts. The latest sub-three-run performance came last Wednesday in a 3-2 win over the Twins. Duffy allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings, but walked a career-high six batters. After the game, he pointed out the positive aspect of the start.
"If this would have happened two years ago, I probably would have gone four [innings]," Duffy said.
Duffy's 103 innings do not qualify him for the ERA crown, but if he was eligible, his 2.42 ERA would place him tied for sixth in MLB and third in the AL.
This will be the first meeting between Duffy and Arizona, which counters with its own streaking left-hander, Wade Miley.
Miley had a 2.45 ERA in July. Additionally, he boasted a 4-1 record in the month, with 36 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings. His latest victory came last Wednesday over the Reds, by a score of 5-4. None of the runs came under Miley's watch as he shut out Cincinnati during his 6 2/3 innings. He did, however, allow seven hits and four walks.
"It was a battle," Miley said after the start. "I was able to get through it. It got better as the game went on, but early on, I was just kind of fighting, just didn't feel very good. They were hitting it at some people, so we were able to get some outs and get out of there."
Royals: Offense knocks around Kazmir
The task for Kansas City on Sunday was a steep one: the offense had to find a way to get to Scott Kazmir and his 2.37 ERA entering the start, good for third in the AL at the time.
The Royals accomplished that and more as they rattled Kazmir for a season-high 10 hits and four runs in six innings. It marked only the third time in 22 starts Kazmir allowed more than three runs this season.
The top of the order did significant damage, as hitters one through four finished 8-for-18, with Billy Butler (3-for-4) and Omar Infante (3-for-5, two-run double) leading the charge.
Infante (entered 0-for-10) and Butler (1-for-17) each snapped slumps with their multi-hit games, while Salvador Perez added a fifth-inning RBI single from the three-hole after going 2-for-his-last-25.
D-backs: Trumbo plays first
On Sunday, Mark Trumbo made his first start at first base this season for an injured Paul Goldschmidt, who fractured his hand left hand Friday night and will likely miss the rest of the year.
"His actions seem pretty smooth over there," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "But it's going to be hard to replace Goldy, what he brought us over there with his consistency."
Gibson has not committed yet to Trumbo as his starting first baseman for the rest of the season, as Jordan Pacheco earned a start at first base on Saturday. Gibson also did not eliminate the possibility that the team could acquire a first baseman. Although, with the non-waiver Trade Deadline passed, the options are slim.
• The D-back are 5-7 in Interleague play this season, while the Royals hold an 8-4 record against National League teams.
Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.