Corbin outduels Kershaw in D-backs' win
PHOENIX -- Patrick Corbin admitted to some extra motivation for his start Friday considering that Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was on the other side.
“I was definitely amped up to be here,” Corbin said.
It translated into one of the best starts of Corbin’s young career, as he threw six shutout innings in a 3-0 victory at Chase Field that enabled the D-backs to maintain their tenuous superiority over Kershaw.
Kershaw may be enter this season and the next several as one of the favorites in the NL Cy Young Award balloting after winning the award in 2011 and finishing second last season, but the D-backs have won four of their last five games against him.
Kershaw entered Friday’s game with a streak of 16 consecutive scoreless innings after shutting out the Giants 4-0 on Opening Day and pitching seven scoreless innings against the Pirates his last time out.
“You ask any pitcher to have Kershaw’s arm and he would love to have it. He’s got some of the best stuff in baseball. You saw it today,” Corbin said.
Corbin matched him, giving up three hits and three walks while striking out four.
“I knew coming in it was going to be tough for us to get some runs, so I knew I had to go out and put up some zeros. You just know every time going out there against him it is going to be a tough battle,” Corbin said.
“The biggest thing I learned last year was be yourself, and that’s something I continue. I just want to go out and do my job.”
Corbin (2-0) made his second straight quality start after stepping up in spring training to win the final spot in the starting rotation. He made three stops with the D-backs last season before settling into the starting rotation for good on Aug. 1 -- in Los Angeles. That may have been a harbinger. He pitched six scoreless innings to beat the Dodgers, 4-0, in Dodger Stadium and is now 2-1 with a 1.33 ERA against him in his short career.
“Patrick is a very competitive person,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "That is one of the reasons we liked him, even last year. We saw he had the makeup to excel in these situations. He came into spring training and didn’t worry about anybody else. He had confidence in himself.
“He has no problem executing things. When you look at players in general, you sit back and you watch and you see how they respond and how they react. He certainly responds very well. Considering it was against a great pitcher, he matched him pitch for pitch.”
Like Corbin, the D-backs understood runs would likely be at a premium. So when Gerardo Parra singled to open the fourth inning, Gibson put on a hit-and-run when the count on Martin Prado reached 2-1.
Prado made it work, guiding a pitch at shoulder level into the vacated spot at shortstop to put runners on the corners. Paul Goldschmidt then grounded into a double play, enabling Parra to score with the only run until the D-backs got two more in the eighth.
The D-backs liked Prado, acquired from the Braves in the offseason in the Justin Upton blockbuster, because of just that sort of at-bat.
“That’s one of the things he can do,” Gibson said of Prado.
Kershaw had allowed six hits and a walk in his first two games.
“It’s hard to sit back against Kershaw," Gibson added. "Early in the game he was just flying. Just trying to make something of an opportunity. He got the job done. If you are going beat a guy like that and a team like this, you are going to have to play a perfect game, as we did.”
Prado reached base four times, on two singles and two walks, and his bases-loaded walk in the eighth inning, followed by another bases-loaded walk by Paul Goldschmidt, gave the D-backs some breathing room.
"It was fun," Corbin said.
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