By PAT GRAHAM, Associated Press
DENVER (AP) — Patrick Corbin tossed a three-hitter for his first complete game and struck out a career-high 10, lifting the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 5-1 win over the Colorado Rockies on Monday night.
Corbin (7-0) joined Randy Johnson as the only lefties in team history to begin the season 7-0. He also turned in his club-record ninth straight start where he's pitched at least six innings and allowed two runs or less.
Mixing an effective slider with a sneaky fastball, Corbin kept the Rockies hitters guessing all night. He held Colorado hitless until Troy Tulowitzki's single up the middle in the fourth and didn't allow another hit until Nolan Arenado's double in the eighth. Pinch-hitter Jordan Pacheco broke up Corbin's shutout bid with a double that brought home Arenado.
Jon Garland (3-5) went six innings, surrendering five runs and a season-high 11 hits.
About the only drama left in the ninth was whether Corbin would finish what he began. The bullpen doors briefly opened in the outfield, but Corbin trotted out of the dugout. He warmed his arm up by waving it in circles and then retired the side in order.
Corbin was calm after finishing off his gem, shaking hands with catcher Miguel Montero.
Didi Gregorius had a big night, driving in runs with a double in the fourth and a single in the sixth. A.J. Pollock produced at the bottom of the lineup as he finished with three singles and scored two runs to help the NL West-leading Diamondbacks.
Paul Goldschmidt and Eric Chavez had RBI singles in the third, staking Arizona to a 3-0 lead. That was more than enough for Corbin, who's only allowed a total of two runs over his last three starts.
Corbin is a completely different pitcher this season, one who's trusting his slider more and throwing a lot more strikes. Of his 97 pitches on Monday, 74 were for strikes.
His previous high for strikeouts was eight last August against Cincinnati. He surpassed that total when he struck out Carlos Gonzalez in the seventh.
Corbin also remains one of five undefeated starting pitchers in the league with a minimum of eight starts, along with Matt Moore (8-0), Clay Buchholz (6-0), Matt Harvey (5-0) and Max Scherzer (5-0).
Chavez tripled in the second and scored when the Rockies couldn't turn an inning-ending double play on Montero's grounder.
The 35-year-old Chavez is off to a torrid start, in part because manager Kirk Gibson refuses to overuse the infielder given his history of back issues. Rarely will Gibson use Chavez more than two games in a row.
"You'll find if I do it (play him more) he will wear down a little bit and probably have medical problems," Gibson said. "We can't afford that."
NOTES: Rockies OF Michael Cuddyer expects to be in the lineup Friday in San Francisco when he's eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list. He's feeling better after receiving an epidural last week to relieve pain and stiffness in his neck. Cuddyer is on the DL with an inflamed cervical disk. He's headed to Arizona for two games of extended spring training, just to squeeze in some plate appearances. Cuddyer was among the league leaders with a .319 batting average when he went on the DL. "Doing good, doing good," Cuddyer said in the clubhouse Monday, before leaving to catch a plane. "Feel great. I knew once I got the shot, I was going to be good." ... Johnson started 7-0 in 2000. ... The Diamondbacks will throw RHP Ian Kennedy (2-3) on Tuesday night, while the Rockies counter with RHP Jhoulys Chacin. ... Several Rockies pitchers helped spread the tarp over the field when a rainstorm passed through the area and postponed batting practice three hours before first pitch.