PHOENIX – Patrick Corbin had the game of his short career. His bases-loaded triple, punctuated with a head-first slide into the bag, broke the game open in the fourth inning. He commanded his full repertoire and was so economical that he had innings of six, seven, eight and 10 pitches.
About the only thing rookie left-hander Corbin could not do in a 10-2 victory over San Francisco on Sunday was talk himself into a complete game.
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“You never want to come out of a game, especially when you are throwing well, but I understand,” Corbin said after pitching a career-high eight innings and driving in four runs.
“Maybe in a couple of years I will say something to ‘Gibby (manager Kirk Gibson).”
Corbin has beaten San Francisco twice this season, a good sign for a team that will play the Giants 18 times a year for the rest of their lives. This time, he did it as a multi-tasker.
With the game tied at 2 in the fourth, the Giants opted to walk Gerardo Parra intentionally to get to Corbin with one out and the bases loaded. It made some sense. Corbin had struck out looking on a 93 mph fastball in the third.
This time, he got the head of the bat out early and grounded a ball inside the bag at first, clearing the bases for his first career RBIs.
“You are sitting fastball, just trying to put the bat on the ball. My first at-bat, he threw two heaters in, and I just stood there. I didn’t even take the bat off my shoulder. He got to two strikes again. That’s what I was sitting on,” Corbin said.
The inning was not over. After Adam Eaton walked, Aaron Hill doubled inside the bag at third for a 7-2 lead. It was more than enough for Corbin, although he chipped in his fourth RBI with a broken bat single to center field in the seventh.
“I think that’s my career high,” Hill said with a chuckle about Corbin’s four RBIs.
“He did a great job. It was a fun day for him. It was fun to watch.”
The D-backs (72-74) avoided a weekend sweep and remained 4 ½ games behind St. Louis in the second NL wild card race after the Cardinals beat Los Angeles on Sunday. The D-backs must catch both those teams, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee and Philadelphia to make their second consecutive postseason appearance.
Economical Corbin (6-7) used only 93 pitches, giving up a run in the first and another in the fourth. After the big fourth, Corbin was at his best, retiring nine of the next 10 batters while throwing eight pitches in the sixth inning, 12 in the sixth and seven in the seventh.
After giving up a single and a double to open the eighth inning, Corbin struck out Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey on breaking balls and got Hunter Pence to fly it.
“Probably the most impressive inning, because he had guys on and got out of it,” Gibson said. “He’s had some games where he’s had low pitch counts, and as soon as he hits the seventh inning, he’s done. It was good to see him get through the additional inning. He’s a young kid. Gained some confidence. Gained some endurance.
Corbin talked to pitching coach Charles Nagy about staying in for the ninth, but the D-backs wanted to get Josh Collmenter an inning of work.
While Corbin did a lot of the hitting work, Hill and Justin Upton also contributed as the D-backs broke a streak of 12 consecutive home games of scoring four runs or fewer, a streak that tied a franchise record set in 2004.
Upton is driving the ball again, starting to look like the player who finished fourth in the NL MVP voting last season. He doubled and homered, driving in three runs. His two-out, two-run off Giants’ starter Ryan Vogelsong in the third inning hit the overhang in right-center field about two feet short of the home run line, bouncing back into play. His bases-empty homer in the sixth was his second in as many days.
“I tried to stay positive all year and keep going. That’s all I could do. Obviously I wasn’t squaring the ball up early in the season, but have strung together a couple of good days. It’s been nice. You try to be consistent and stay with your routine. Sometimes it clicks, sometimes it doesn’t. It obviously took awhile this year,” said Upton, who is third in the NL with 90 runs scored.
“He’s on a bit of a roll. He’s starting to get the head (of the bat) out. He’s driving balls. Like to see that. Obviously, he’s important to us.”