One bad pitch would have otherwise salvaged a solid performance from starter Patrick Corbin. Then again, the Diamondbacks offense, one of the most potent this season in the majors, did not come to the left-hander’s recuse.
The end result was a no-decision in which Corbin turned in his best outing of the season. Going against the St. Louis Cardinals, the team with the best record in baseball, Corbin stayed constantly ahead of hitters and exhibited a strong economy of pitches. Lifted after six innings of work, the native of Clay, N. Y. threw 82 pitches and did not allow more than one runner on base during any inning.
The only blemish was a one-out, fifth inning home run from former Diamondback Mark Reynolds and that spoiled Corbin’s stellar effort for the 2015 season. Reynolds’ blast tied the score, but the Diamondbacks could not offer any more support. Recovering from Tommy John surgery performed last March, Corbin made his 10th start of the season, and acknowledged afterward that he achieved his goal of going deep into this game.
If Corbin was effective, David Hernandez, Corbin’s relief in the seventh, allowed two runs, and that was enough for St. Louis to come-from-behind and gain a 3-1 victory over the Diamondbacks before 17,572 Wednesday night in Chase Field.
Coupled with another Los Angeles Dodgers win in Cincinnati, the Diamondbacks now fall 7.5 games behind the National League West Division-leading Dodgers. The loss was also the third in a row for Arizona after a modest four-game win streak. The victory was the fourth straight for St. Louis.
Statistically, Corbin had nothing to show for this strong performance, but countered with several positives. Among the achievements of the night, he noted, was an effective slider and control.
“It felt good to pitch deep into the game,” he said. “Everything was working. I was threw the slider for strikes and where I wanted.”
The pitch which was suspect ended up as a change-up to Reynolds. Other than that one mistake, Corbin looked like the pitcher which torn up the National League during the first part of the 2013 season.
“The change (to Reynolds) was not as hard as he would have liked the pitch,” said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. “The pitch actually stayed up just a little longer than we wanted. If we had the same situation again, I still would call the same pitch. But, Patrick was cruising. All I had to do was put the finger down and he threw to the spot.”
Entering a 1-1 game in the seventh in relief, Hernandez hit a wall with the initial two batters. First, the right-hander surrendered a lead-off single to Stephen Piscotty. Kolten Wong followed with a fly that drifted toward the left field foul line and dropped in for a double. That scored Piscotty and then Matt Carpenter, who struck out all three times against Corbin, singled to right off reliever Andrew Chafin for a key insurance run.
If Corbin held the Cardinals at bay, the offense could not pick up their pitcher. Against St. Louis starter John Lackey, the Diamondbacks reached the veteran right-hander for seven hits in the first five innings, but nothing since.
At the start, the Diamondbacks staked Corbin to a slight lead. That’s when Paul Goldschmidt reached the left-field bleachers with his 25th homer of the season with two-out in the first inning. From that point, the Cardinals bailed out their starter and winner Lackey with three double plays. From Ender Inciarte’s one-out single in the fifth, Lackey, along with relievers Kevin Siegrist and closer Trevor Rosenthal, retired the final 13 hitters of the last 14 hitters. The only base runner in this stretch was a two-out walk to Aaron Hill in the ninth inning.
“We hit the ball hard, swung the bats really well but had nothing to show for this,” said manager Chip Hale. “I thought we hit the ball well enough to win. Their defense came up big, and they made plays. They made the plays that a major league team is supposed to make to win games.”
MOVING UP IN HISTORY
Goldschmidt’s home run was the 108th of his career. The blast tied Justin Upton for fifth place on the team’s all-time list.
The Cardinals series concludes Wednesday night. Look for right-hander Rubby De La Rosa (11-5. 4.32 ERA) to close out this set for the Diamondbacks and oppose righty Carlos Martinez (12-5, 2.85) for the 6:40 p.m. (Pacific time) start. Then, the Oakland A’s move into Chase Field this weekend for a three-game series.