CHICAGO -- The first hint for D-backs left-hander Patrick Corbin that this was going to be a good night for him came early."It's always good when you get to bat in the first inning," he said.Indeed, Corbin's D-backs teammates batted around in the first, scoring five runs and providing him
CHICAGO -- The first hint for D-backs left-hander Patrick Corbin that this was going to be a good night for him came early.
"It's always good when you get to bat in the first inning," he said.
Indeed, Corbin's D-backs teammates batted around in the first, scoring five runs and providing him with all the offense he would need in a 7-1 win over the Cubs on Monday night at Wrigley Field.
The win was the second straight for the D-backs as they opened an important four-game series with the National League Central leaders. The victory also allowed the D-backs to remain 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Dodgers in the NL West.
First-inning runs are nothing new for the D-backs, who entered the game with 73, second only to the Rockies' 82.
A.J. Pollock and Ketel Marte each had RBI singles in the inning, while Jake Lamb added a sacrifice fly and Jeff Mathis capped the scoring with a two-run double to left.
The runs came off right-hander Luke Farrell, normally a reliever but needed as a starter after the Cubs played five games in four days against the Cardinals coming out of the All-Star break.
"I just think we had a good game plan -- we were going to wait for balls in the zone," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "We felt very confident that he was going to try to locate them in and we didn't miss the pitches. I think scoring some early runs really took the pressure off what was going on on our side of the dugout."
Paul Goldschmidt, whose first-inning lineout had an exit velocity of 109 mph, added a solo homer in the second inning off Farrell.
"It was a great team effort," Goldschmidt said. "In the first inning, we just strung a bunch of hits together and a couple of big two-out hits, especially from Mathis there to make it a big inning rather than just a good inning. Corbin did a great job putting up a bunch of zeros because we didn't score much there in the middle."
Indeed, while the D-backs' offense went silent except for an eighth-inning RBI single by Nick Ahmed, Corbin (7-4) didn't need any additional support.
One of three D-backs selected to the All-Star team, Corbin had a couple of extra ticks on his fastball Monday. In addition, he was able to get back into counts with his slower breaking ball and finish hitters off with his biting, back-leg slider.
"Their guy was really good," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Corbin was channeling his inner Steve Carlton tonight, and he was outstanding."
Over his seven innings, Corbin allowed six hits and did not walk a batter while striking out nine.
Corbin, who did not pitch in the All-Star Game, last started July 15, so he was working on seven days' rest.
"Just having the extra couple of days felt good at this time of the year," Corbin said. "Just kind of mixed it up and kept them off balance. They're a good hitting team, so if you make mistakes, you're going to pay for it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Don't let them back in: Corbin cruised through five innings without allowing a run before running into a jam in the sixth. With one run in, one out, a runner on first and Kristopher Bryant coming up, the Cubs had a chance to get back in the game. Corbin, though, fanned Bryant and got Albert Almora Jr. to hit one back to the mound to end the threat.
"There was one inning where I think it got a little dicey for him," Lovullo said. "But he stepped back off the mound, made some pitches when he had to and got some big outs."
Goldschmidt went 2-for-5 and is now hitting .362 in his career against the Cubs. That ties him with Jim Morrison for the fourth-best average against the Cubs (minimum 150 plate appearances) in their history. Rogers Hornsby is third with a .364 mark.
I CAN'T GET AWAY WITH THAT
Maddon had his first baseman, Anthony Rizzo, pitch to one batter in the ninth and Lovullo was asked if he would ever consider using his first baseman, Goldschmidt, on the mound.
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"If I do, I probably will get fired tomorrow," Lovullo said with a laugh. "Goldschmidt, I can tell you, will never pitch in a game."
HE SAID IT
"It's different, I wouldn't say tough. Guys throwing 100 are a lot tougher and guys that get paid to do it. Most of the times it's happening the game is out of the hand, so if you can face position players every day, that would be a good thing." -- Goldschmidt, on facing position players pitching
Clay Buchholz will make his first start since going on the disabled list with a strained left oblique on June 24. The right-hander has pitched outstanding in six of his seven starts for the D-backs since signing a Minor League contract in early May and being called up a few weeks later. Buchholz made a Minor League rehab start on Thursday for Class A Advanced Visalia and allowed two runs over six innings. He will square off with Cubs righty Kyle Hendricks on Tuesday at 5:05 p.m. MST.
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.