Finally, D-backs get to breathe a little easier
MAY 04, 2013 9:41p ET
With early-season standouts Patrick Corbin and A.J. Pollock leading the way, the D-backs scored six runs in the second inning and put up a dominating 8-1 victory, lowering the stress level a few degrees while breaking a four-game losing streak.
Corbin struck out seven in seven innings while becoming the second pitcher in the majors with six starts of at least six innings with two runs or fewer allowed, joining Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox. Pollock, meanwhile, is second on the team in RBIs.
“Getting that six spot for us, especially, getting up on a team good and playing with a good lead was a nice change of pace for us,” Pollock said. "Kind of got everybody relaxed, especially with Corbin throwing the way he was.
"Winning close games is good, but sometimes you need to just relax and let everybody breathe.”
Pollock’s two-run double was one of five hits in the second inning, when the D-backs not only hit well but took advantage of a throwing error by Padres starter Clayton Richard to do even more damage. It was their biggest inning of the year, and it started with singles by Gerardo Parra, Josh Wilson and Cliff Pennington and a walk to Wil Nieves.
Pollock, who also stole third base in the second inning, hit his fourth home run of the year in the fourth. The ball landed beyond fence in left-center field in an area that would have been in play last year ... but that was then.
“I’ll take it,” Pollock said. “Thanks, Petco.”
So the D-backs evened the homer/not a homer count, just as Cody Ross suggested was the proper response after Yonder Alonso hit a two-run home Friday that by most accounts would not been over the auxiliary scoreboard that was in place before the renovation last year.
Of the D-backs’ previous 18 games, 17 had been decided by one or two runs or in extra innings, including every game on the recent nine-game road trip and five of the six this season against the Giants.
“Through the streak, I still thought we played hard,” manager Kirk Gibson said. "I didn’t see the guys tightening up. They were good teammates. They were lively, laughing. The frustration part after the game always sets in. It was good. We needed it."
The D-backs (16-14) posted their largest margin of victory since beating the Pirates 10-2 on April 10, when Pollock had two home runs, a double and four RBIs.
“He went home last season and worked on some things he knew he had to work on," Gibson said. "He’s a solid player and really understands how to apply some of the things that he has learned. He’s a little like 'Goldy' (Paul Goldschmidt). He asks a lot of questions, and it makes him a better ballplayer for his teammates.”
Corbin (4-0) lowered his ERA to 1.80 while striking out seven -- one shy of his career high -- for the third time this season. The Padres put two runners on base in only two innings, the fourth and the sixth.
Corbin walked the first two batters in the fourth, his first two three-ball counts of the night, but got out of it by fielding a comebacker to start a double play at second and then striking out Jedd Gyorko. After an infield single and a walk with one out in the sixth, Corbin struck out Yonder Alonso and Gyorko on breaking balls in the dirt.
He had six of his strikeouts with a slider at the shoetops that hitters have been unable to resist this season. He left with a lead in his only two non-decisions, the first at Yankee Stadium and the second in San Francisco.
“He could be 6-0 very easily. His secondary stuff mixed in well. Seven innings was important for us,” Gibson said.
Corbin said his teammates made his job a lot easier.
“It helps when you are up six early in the game. It lets you go out there and pitch your game and go after those guys. I just wanted to keep my pitch count low and make sure I got deep in the game and help the bullpen out."
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