In his first major league start, Josh Collmenter pitched the Diamondbacks out of an ugly tailspin, throwing six scoreless innings against the Dodgers on May 14.
And with Arizona suddenly on a little roll, Collmenter duplicated his effort Thursday, keeping the momentum going by shutting out Atlanta just long enough for Arizona to push across a few runs. The Diamondbacks edged the Braves 2-1 to win for the fifth time in six games.
Collmenter had thrown only 76 pitches -- 57 for strikes -- when he was lifted for a pinch hitter after Arizona scored twice in the sixth inning. He said he had already gotten the nod to go out for the seventh, "but once we scored, they decided to go another way."
With his unique, over-the-top delivery and ability to hide the ball,
and good location, Collmenter kept the Braves popping out. He also didn't walk a batter. His 12 scoreless innings as a new starter set a franchise record. Counting his earlier work as a reliever, Collmenter has now allowed just two runs in 26 innings (0.69 ERA) -- with 15 strikeouts and one walk -- since being called up from Class AAA Reno.
"How could it be any better?" Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "What's his ERA now? He's done a great job. We couldn't ask for any more. Hopefully he keeps it going."
Coincidentally, Collmenter's scoreless streak broke the record of 11 set by Micah Owings, who will make his first start as a Diamondback since 2008 on Saturday night.
The only Atlanta hitter who drew a bead on Collmenter was Freddie Freeman, who doubled in the second inning and singled in the fifth. The rest of the Braves were off-balance and happy to see a new pitcher in the seventh.
--LHP Zach Duke threw 68 pitches in a rehab start for Class Hi-A Visalia on Wednesday, moving ahead of schedule in his return from a broken pitching hand suffered in spring training. Duke was expected to start one more extended spring training game before going on a rehab assignment, but the D-backs are pushing him so he can return for the seven-game trip to Colorado and Houston next week. Because of a makeup doubleheader in Colorado on May 24, the D-backs will need six starters in a five-game span, and Duke could make the May 28 start at Houston. "I hope so," Duke said.
--RHP Micah Owings will make his return to the Diamondbacks on Saturday when he takes the spot of the departed Armando Galarraga and faces the Twins. Owings went 14-17 in 45 starts with Arizona from 2007-08 before being traded to Cincinnati in the Adam Dunn deal. Owings didn't make the team out of camp this spring, and he has a 4.85 ERA through seven starts with
Triple-A Reno. It will likely be a one-turn stint, with LHP Zach Duke (broken left hand) expected to be ready to take over in a week.
--1B Juan Miranda had his best game of the season with three hits, including a sixth-inning triple that missed being a home run by inches. Miranda now has six hits in his last 12 at-bats, raising his average by more than 40 points over that span.
--The Arizona bullpen bent but didn't break in its three innings Thursday, allowing an unearned run but finishing off a 2-1 win over the Braves. LHP Joe Paterson didn't allow a run for the 18th consecutive appearance, while closer J.J. Putz made it 10-for-10 this season in save opportunities. Putz tied Byung-Hyun Kim for the franchise's longest consecutive save streak to start a season. Kim also had 10 straight in the championship season of 2001.
--CF Chris Young looked awful in an at-bat in the third inning against Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens, walking toward the dugout on one pitch that missed being strike three by an inch before fanning for real one pitch later. But he changed his approach in the sixth, and it paid off with his ninth home run of the season, tying him with Justin Upton for the team lead. "I felt I haven't been aggressive on the right pitches, so I was just trying to lock in on a pitch I could drive," Young said. "And he gave me one on the first pitch." Before Young's homer, the top five batters in the order for both teams were a combined 0-for-26.
DIAMOND STAT: 21 -- Consecutive scoreless innings put up by RHP Josh Collmenter, 12 of them in his first two major league starts.
QUOTABLE: "A lot of times you can get away with things the first time, then the second time is when you're going to have to bear down and make sure that you make pitches and not just rely on the deception and the uniqueness of your delivery to get outs. You actually have to go at them." -- RHP Josh Collmenter, who has yet to give up a run through two big-league starts.
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