‘Dominating game’ shows Parra thriving as starter

PHOENIX — Gerado Parra continues to playing with the aggressiveness that he has always brought to the park, but this year he has been able to do it every day.

He cannot fib: It means a lot.

“When you play every day, you have more confidence,” he said. “I’m just playing my same baseball.”

It shows.

Parra has played every game and has started all but three, and it has translated into the best start of his five-year career. He is tied for the National League lead with 32 hits and tied for second with nine doubles, and his all-around contributions played a large part in the Diamondbacks’ 4-2 victory over the Rockies before 24, 852 at Chase Field on Sunday.

He tripled and singled to help the D-backs to a 4-0 lead through six innings, and he also made a sliding catch in center field to take a hit away from rookie Nolan Arenado and blunt a late Colorado rally in the seventh.

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson called it a “dominating game,” and no play was more typical of the Parra the D-backs have come to expect than one in the third inning, when he scored from third base on a 40-foot wild pitch.

Parra, noticing Arenado was playing way off the line because of the shift the Rockies use against Jason Kubel, got a larger than normal lead as Jon Garland delivered his 2-2 pitch.

The ball bounced in the dirt and caromed into foul territory along the third-base line, maybe 15 feet off the line. Parra, who had the play in front of him all the way, rounded third, broke for home and stepped around catcher Wilin Rosario’s tag attempt to score. The D-backs led 2-0, and they would not trail.

“You try to be aggressive without running into outs on the bases,” Gibson said. “We’re aware of what guys throw in certain counts and when to be alert to dirt-ball reads. ‘G’ made a good read on that. You are anticipating something in the dirt and you are immediately going. Not many guys score on that.

“Parra had a dominating game today. Outstanding.”

Parra, who tripled and scored in the fifth, was quick to defer.

“You know, I think the team is dominating. We play for the D-backs. I don’t play for my personal (rewards). I just want to play for my team and make it win,” Parra said.

Patrick Corbin made his fifth straight quality start, giving up two runs in 6 2/3 innings, to improve to 3-0 and lower his ERA to 1.91 as the D-backs (15-10) moved into a tie for first place with the Rockies.

Parra has played every day in part because injuries have thinned the ranks. Adam Eaton and Cody Ross went down in spring training, and when Ross returned two weeks ago, it was because of an injury to Jason Kubel, who came back Sunday.

It has been a nice change for Parra, who won a Gold Glove in left field in 2011 after winning the starting job there a month into the season as the D-backs caught fire and rolled to the NL West title. He hit a career-best .292 to go along with career highs in home runs (eight) and stolen bases (15).

When Kubel was signed to provide a middle-of-the-order bat in the winter of 2011, Parra became the de facto reserve outfielder, although an early injury to Chris Young last April created plenty of playing time as he developed into basically a fourth starter.

“He’s endured a lot. He’s endured a lot of disappointment,” Gibson said. 

As Gibson was giving his postgame talk, Parra was in the weight room getting his daily workout in.

 “Highly dedicated. A lot of things we have laid out for the guys to subscribe to, he’s been a leader of the pack,” Gibson said.

Added Parra: “I feel good. I don’t think anything about the past. I just want to play for today. I stay positive. I play hard every day and, no matter what happens, try to win.”

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