PHOENIX -- Just how good is D-backs left-hander Patrick Corbin throwing the ball these days?
Even his manager gets caught up in his starts.
"It's a lot of fun for us to watch," Torey Lovullo said following Corbin's latest gem, which led to a 4-2 win over the Padres on Sunday afternoon. "I'm a fan sitting there in the dugout thinking how impressive it looks, too."
Corbin (4-0) allowed two runs on two hits, while striking out 11 over six innings to raise his ERA on the season to 1.89.
When he takes the mound these days, Corbin carries with him the confidence that comes from having success, much like fellow lefty Robbie Ray did during his breakout 2017 season.
"He's amazing," Ray said. "The way he mixes the different speeds on his slider, he's turned it into two pitches really -- a curveball and a slider. He's leading us right now and we're doing our best to keep up with him."
Corbin came within a shift-beating dribbler of pitching a no-hitter in his last outing against the Giants, and again on Sunday it was his ability to locate his fastball and change speeds with his breaking balls that helped him.
Corbin has a slider that typically registers in the low 80s, but last year he added a slower breaking ball. He's starting to call it a curve to differentiate it, even though he uses the same grip for his slider, that is even slower.
"Has a lot more run on the fastball than I remember," Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "I know he has that curveball as kind of a bailout pitch. There's certain times where he would start on 0-0 count with a breaking ball or 2-1, 2-0, to get him back into favorable counts. There's a reason he's having the start he is. With those breaking balls and the movement and location he has, he's a tough at-bat."
The only damage the Padres were able to do against him came in the sixth, when William Myers reached first because Corbin's strike-three slider was so nasty it got by catcher Jeff Mathis.
Christian Villanueva followed with a two-run homer.
Corbin showed a rare dose of emotion on the mound as Villanueva's ball cleared the fence.
"I was just frustrated," Corbin said. "When you pitch pretty well, you just kind of want to finish on a good note. Just happy we were able to close it out. You just learn from those mistakes there."
If Corbin continues to learn and get better, well, that will be trouble for National League hitters.
"I've always felt like if I can repeat my delivery, I can put the ball where I want to," Corbin said. "So it's just continuing to do that -- repeat everything. My fastball command has been great, just getting ahead of guys and being able to throw both of my secondary stuff for strikes. Just going to try and continue to keep it going."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Big blow: The D-backs got all the offense that Corbin and a trio of relievers would need in a four-run fourth. The biggest hit in the frame came from Nick Ahmed, who hit a two-run homer down the left-field line.
"The home run, I'm just trying to drive in A.J. [Pollock] who is on third base with less than two outs," Ahmed said. "So, trying to get a fastball out over the plate and drive something to center or right-center to get him in, and he hung that off-speed pitch and it was middle and down and I was able to get it up in the air to left field."
The D-backs are the first National League team to win its first seven series in a season since the 2003 San Francisco Giants.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Ahmed flashed some serious leather at short in the ninth inning when Myers led off with a grounder to the hole. Ahmed dove, got up and nailed Myers at first. The play came one day after he saved a pair of runs with a two-out play he made, also going to his right.
LAMB SHUT DOWN
Louvllo announced after the game that third baseman Jake Lamb is experiencing tendinitis in his right elbow. Lamb, who has been on the disabled list with a sprained left AC joint, had been nearing a return to the active roster. Recently, though, he felt some pain in his elbow and an MRI showed some inflammation. Lamb will be shut down for a few days and then re-evaluated.
The D-backs take Monday off before opening a three-game series against the Phillies on Tuesday night at 4:05 MST at Citizens Bank Park. The D-backs have won seven straight games against the Phillies in Philadelphia by a 37-14 margin. Ray will get the start for the D-backs. Over his career, he is 2-1 with a 4.56 ERA against the Phillies. Jacob Arrieta will start for the Phillies.