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ARI@STL: McCarthy tosses six strong innings vs. Cards

D-backs starter Brandon McCarthy will be the next pitcher tasked with trying to cool down Braves right fielder Jason Heyward. Heyward carries a nine-game hitting streak into Atlanta's seven-game road trip beginning on Friday night at Chase Field.

McCarthy has never faced Heyward, who is making many pitchers these days look like they are facing him for the first time. He has hit safely in 21 of his past 24 games, reaching base safely in 23 of those contests.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is hopeful Heyward's hot streak will rub off on his club, which has failed to score a run in 16 straight innings.

"I wouldn't say the word 'frustrating,' because I know how hard these guys work, and I know how prepared they are," Gonzalez said. "I think we've been shut out seven or eight times, and it's a team that shouldn't be shut out, because we're so talented offensively."

Heyward's recent surge has helped him overcome a slow start, during which he batted .209 with a .295 on-base percentage in his first 32 games of 2014. Since May 9, however, he's sporting a .316 batting average and a .398 OBP while returning to the form that first inspired Gonzalez to move him to the leadoff spot last July.

McCarthy could stand to go through another one of his hot streaks in what has been an up and down 2014. The right-hander has surrendered five earned runs or more six times, while giving up two earned runs or fewer in five outings.

Pitching opposite McCarthy will be right-hander Julio Teheran, who has a 1.83 ERA and 11 quality starts in 12 trips to the mound this season. In a matchup with the Braves' ace, Arizona will need the McCarthy who two-hit the Nationals over eight innings on May 14, not the guy who has given up 10 runs on 18 hits in his past 11 innings. McCarthy came unraveled against the Reds in his most recent start on Saturday, giving up five runs after surrendering just one hit while facing the minimum in the first three innings.

"I don't know what happened," McCarthy said after falling to 1-7. "That's kind of where it's been. A few quality innings, and then things turn, and I don't have any understanding why.

"When I go back and look at [the pitches], there's little spots where they're at. They're not horrible pitches -- it just keeps happening and keeps happening. There's something there I'm missing, and it's [ticking] me off to no end, but I don't have the answers for it right now."

Braves: Upton, Johnson head back to Chase Field
The returns of Justin Upton and Chris Johnson to Arizona last season were nothing short of triumphant for the former D-backs. Each Brave doubled and homered, with Upton hitting .500 (5-for-10) and Johnson .571 (4-for-7).

"I wasn't there too long," Johnson said. "I was only there the second half of the [2012] season, so it's not like Justin, who played all of his career there before coming over here. So for me, it was kind of just a pit stop."

D-backs: Club seeking reversal of home woes
Arizona will host Atlanta and Houston in a five-game homestand at Chase Field hoping to improve on a 9-22 home record that's the worst in the Majors.

However, the D-backs have shown improvement during their past two homestands, posting a combined 6-7 record.

Worth noting
• Tommy La Stella has hit safely in five of seven games since making his Major League debut on May 28. He is batting .409 (9-for-22) with two walks.

• Current D-backs are batting .262 (11-for-42) with two doubles, one walk and 11 strikeouts against Teheran. Former Braves pitcher Randall Delgado, who was part of the Upton trade, has one of those hits. Comments