The Arizona Diamondbacks finished April one-half game out of first place in the NL West.
Before Sunday’s game, manager Torey Lovullo of the Arizona Diamondbacks told Venom Strikes that the effort and production of his starters represented a large reason for early success. At this point, Lovullo seems to trust his starters and his hook is not as evident as with previous Arizona skippers.
Trusting starter Patrick Corbin on Sunday against the Colorado Rockies, Corbin proved a growing axiom that Lovullo will allow pitchers to dictate their fortunes. In that regard, Corbin cranked out one of his best efforts since returning in the middle of the 2015 season from Tommy John surgery. Though he was not around at the end for the Diamondbacks’ dramatic 2-0 victory over the Rockies in 13 innings before 23,613 in Chase Field, Corbin clearly left a calling card.
In going 6.2 innings and reaching a 99-pitch count, Corbin was right around plate and pounded the strike zone. Dominating with control and execution on both sides of the plate, Corbin tossed a first-pitch strike to each of the first 11 batters he faced. Allowing the Rockies just two hits in his outing, Corbin carefully pitched out a bases-loaded, no out jam in the fifth.
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First, he managed to get Dustin Garneau to pop to second, opposing pitcher German Marquez grounded to third and Jake Lamb throw to the plate for the force-out. Then, Charlie Blackmon grounded to first to end the frame. Afterward, Corbin told Venom Strikes his goal, since spring training, is to pound the strike zone and keep hitters guessing with secondary pitches.
"That’s a good hitting team and I wanted to locate my pitches. I always want to get ahead and get that first pitch strike. My off-speed stuff was working and used that to get strikes. That helped bail me out of that bases loaded inning."
By recording six strikeouts. Corbin passed Wade Miley for second place for strikeouts by a left-hander in franchise history with 499 Ks. He has a long way to catch leader Randy Johnson, who recorded 2,077 strikeouts.
If Corbin was effective in keeping the Rockies at bay, it seemed this game would never end. Scoreless into the 13th inning, the contest was the longest 0-0 game in Chase Field history. The previous longest 0-0 game was 11 innings in a game against the San Francisco on Sept. 6, 2010. As the time of game crept past the four-hour mark, Daniel Descalso made sure the crowd made it home in time for dinner.
After Brandon Drury legged out an infield single to open the 13th, Descalso, who started for Yasmany Tomas in left, drove an 0-2 pitch from Rox reliever Jordan Lyles into the pool beyond the right center-field fence for his first career walk-off homer. The game-winner was the third in Descalso’s eight-year major league career. Not known for power, Descalso told Venom Strikes he just wanted to hit the ball hard somewhere.
"No, I was not looking to hit a home run in that situation. (Lyles) put it over the plate and I put a good swing on it. We had a good month in September and now keep it going into May."
With the victory, the Diamondbacks closed April with a 16-11 mark and end the month one-half games behind the NL West Division-leading Rockies.
After a day off Monday, the Diamondbacks embark on a six-game, two city trip.
First stop is Washington and a three-game series with the Nationals. On Tuesday, right-hander Taijuan Walker (3-1, 3.94 ERA) gets the start and draws righty Tanner Roark (3-0, 3.64) as his mound opponent. For Wednesday, it’s lefty Robbie Ray (2-1, 3.56) opposes lefty Gio Gonzalez (3-0, 1.62). On Thursday, manager Torey Lovullo will name his starter when the team arrives in Washington and the Nationals plan to go with former Diamondback Max Scherzer (3-2, 2.94).
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Then, it’s off to Denver for three against the Rockies this weekend. The Diamondbacks return to Chase Field for a nine-game stand with the Detroit Tigers, the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets beginning on Tuesday May 9.