The way Arizona's Daniel Hudson has pitched of late, it's no wonder he has not lost in more than a month.
Hudson tries for a career-high ninth victory Thursday night while looking to help the NL West-leading Diamondbacks complete a sweep of the host Kansas City Royals, who hope to avoid a fifth straight defeat.Since losing at San Francisco on May 12, Hudson (8-5, 3.56 ERA) is 5-0 with a 2.70 ERA in seven starts. He's allowed just three earned runs and struck out 19 in 22 innings to go 2-0 over his last three.Hudson's most recent outing could have been his best. He gave up a homer and two other hits for his first complete game in Friday's 4-1 win over the White Sox -- the team that traded him to Arizona on July 30."He was throwing 3-2 changeups to guys. That is confidence. That is maturity," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.The right-hander is 8-1 with a 2.82 ERA in 11 starts since posting a 5.92 ERA while losing his first four outings. He's gone at least six innings in each of those 11 games."I like to think I'm a pretty good innings-eater and I can go out there and throw a lot of pitches," Hudson told the Diamondbacks' official website.Hudson, however, was unable to do that when he surrendered five runs in four innings of a 15-5 win over Kansas City while with Chicago on July 11. He hopes for a better effort while trying to help the Diamondbacks (41-34) sweep their first interleague road series since taking three straight at Baltimore from June 15-17, 2007.Arizona scored all its runs on four hits in the fifth inning to improve to 6-2 in interleague play with a 3-2 win Wednesday."We were able to grind it out," said Xavier Nady, who delivered an RBI double. "Guys are starting to believe in themselves. Guys are having fun and winning games and it's pretty contagious."The Diamondbacks have won four straight at Kauffman Stadium, where they are 8-3 all-time. They have never recorded a sweep in five previous series against the Royals.Justin Upton, who had one of the Diamondbacks' five hits, is batting .514 (19 for 37) with eight RBIs his last nine games. His only hit in five at-bats against scheduled Royals' starter Felipe Paulino (0-4, 4.10) left the park.Making his fifth consecutive start, Paulino did not factor in the decision while posting a 2.78 ERA in his previous four. The right-hander yielded four runs and four walks in six innings of a 5-4 win at St. Louis on Friday.Paulino also allowed four runs and walked four in six innings of a 9-1 loss to Arizona while with Houston on May 3, 2010.Chris Getz had three hits and rookie Eric Hosmer hit his second home run Wednesday for Kansas City (31-43), which had 11 hits but grounded into three double plays and went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position."We just couldn't get a big hit," manager Ned Yost said.Despite the homer, Hosmer is batting .154 (6 for 39) with two RBIs his last 10 games.Melky Cabrera, who had two hits Wednesday, has batted .320 his last 11 contests.