Collmenter Makes History in 1st Start

Collmenter Makes History in 1st Start

After winning his major league debut a month ago, soft-tossing right-hander Josh Collmenter also won his first major league start on Saturday. Collmenter made history in that start and could be just what the doctor order to bolster an Arizona Diamondbacks rotation that has struggled all year.

Right-hander Josh Collmenter is one of a kind, and not just because of his unique delivery in which the ball appears to come from someplace behind his hat before finding the strike zone.

Collmenter, 25, is the only pitcher in the last 100 years to pitch six shutout innings and allow two hits or less while his own team had only one hit in his first major league start, according to research done by the Elias Sports Bureau after his 1-0 victory Saturday over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Collmenter again showed a mastery of the strike zone with his fastball/changeup combination, giving up two hits and striking out three while not issuing a walk. He threw 71 pitches, 54 strikes, and got to a three-ball count on only one hitter, Dodgers' leadoff man Jamey Carroll in the last of the first inning.

"I think maybe his biggest asset is his makeup.  He just processes the situation so well," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said after the game. "He has a great inner confidence. He understands the game."

"He has some funk to him, he has a good arm angle, [and] he's deceptive," D-backs pitching coach Charles Nagy added. "He's been able to locate his fastball in-and-out, up-and-down, and that makes his changeup that much better."

Collmenter, who won his major league debut with two perfect relief innings in a 6-5, 12-inning victory over San Francisco on April 17, is 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA. He has given up 10 hits and one walk in 20 innings while striking out 14. A starter all the way up the D-backs' system, Collmenter made seven relief appearances this season before being moved into the starting rotation when RHP Barry Enright was optioned to Class AAA Reno after going 1-3 with a 6.49 ERA in six starts.

"I always dreamed of starting in the big leagues, so to get the opportunity, I wanted to make the most of it and was just excited to get out there," Collmenter said. "When I found out I was starting, I was able to get into that routine and it naturally took over. I just didn't want to make it anything more than it was."

Collmenter led the minors with 34 victories between 2008-09, according to the D-backs' research.

The D-backs got another strong outing from their starter Sunday, when Ian Kennedy allowed one run in six innings for a 4-1 victory.

SNAKE BYTES

--RHP Ian Kennedy improved to 4-1 by retiring the final 12 batters he faced in a 4-1 victory over the Dodgers on Sunday, although he said his "command wasn't as good as it has been." Kennedy pitched out of a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the first inning and allowed only two base runners in his final five innings, that when the Dodgers had two hits and scored in the third. "That first inning, my curve ball wasn't there," he added.

--1B/LF Xavier Nady's two-run home run to give the D-backs a 2-0 lead in the second inning Sunday was the first homer in 120 at-bats, dating to a solo shot against Milwaukee LHP Randy Wolf on Sept. 11, 2010, when Nady was with the Chicago Cubs. "You take the positive and roll with it tomorrow," Nady said. Nady has been the most consistent of the D-backs' three first base options and manager Kirk Gibson said, "At some point, we want to move onto more of a set rotation. It would be to everybody's advantage." Russell Branyan and Juan Miranda are the others, and they both hit left-handed.

--INF/OF Ryan Roberts tied his career-high with his seventh homer Sunday, in his 93rd at-bat of the season. Roberts had seven homers in 305 at-bats in 2009, the first season in which he had more than a cup of coffee in the majors. Roberts started at third base after missing the previous two games with flu-like symptoms.

--C Miguel Montero was hit by pitches from Dodgers LHP Ted Lilly in the second and third innings Sunday, the first after Xavier Nady and Ryan Roberts hit back-to-back homers. Lilly has hit six batters this season, and Montero had not been hit by a pitch in 133 previous plate appearances this year.

DIAMOND STAT: 1 -- Walk in 20 innings by RHP Josh Collmenter, who won his major league debut in relief April 17 and won his first major league start May 14.

QUOTABLE: "It looks now we are in a tight-game syndrome. This is all fun what we're going through." –- D-backs manager Kirk Gibson, whose team played 10 one-run games in their first 13 in May.


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