Corbin continues impressive run, improves to 5-0

Lefty hurls 6 1/3 innings; Parra also contributes with arm, bat

Corbin continues impressive run, improves to 5-0

PHOENIX -- Seven starts into the 2013 season, it's hard to imagine a better beginning for Patrick Corbin.

A little more than a month into the season, the 23-year-old New York native already has dominated his childhood team at Yankee Stadium, outdueled Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and, with another methodically impressive performance Thursday night, defeated World Series MVP Cole Hamels.

Behind Corbin's continued brilliance, the D-backs won their fourth straight game, 2-1, over the Phillies in front of 20,002 at Chase Field.

Coupled with a Giants loss to the Braves, Arizona's victory moved the club into a first-place tie with San Francisco atop the National League West standings.

"Obviously it's exciting," Corbin said of his season. "But I just want to keep level-headed and make sure I don't get too big on myself. I'm just glad we came out with a win, we have a nice little streak going."

The left-hander tossed 6 1/3 innings and allowed just one run Thursday, becoming the first player in franchise history to open a season with seven straight starts of at least six innings and two runs allowed or less. The last pitcher to accomplish the feat for any team was Ubaldo Jimenez in 2010 with the Rockies.

The victory improved Corbin's record to 5-0 on the year and lowered his ERA down to a minuscule 1.75, ninth best in the Majors. Not bad for a guy who barely made the team out of Spring Training after winning the final spot in the club's starting rotation.

"We're not surprised," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We have total confidence in him. He's got a great head on his shoulders, he's a total ballplayer."

To secure the win, Heath Bell came on for the third consecutive night in the ninth inning and tallied his third save in as many days, following D-backs closer J.J. Putz's elbow injury that landed him on the disabled list.

Since allowing four runs in his first 2 1/3 innings this season, Bell has turned things around in a big way recently, surrendering just three runs in his last 13 frames.

"At the start of the year, I didn't do well and I was lost, I had no idea what I was doing wrong," Bell said. "Then we sat down and figured it out. It was just me going out there and finding my niche and executing pitches. I started doing that and now I'm pitching well."

Offensively, the D-backs did enough to back Corbin's stellar outing but struggled in key chances, batting 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and relying on a pair of RBI groundouts to plate both of Arizona's runs.

Gerardo Parra was the catalyst Thursday for most of the D-backs' bright moments that didn't come from the pitching staff. The outfielder threw out two Phillies on the basepaths, collected a pair of hits and drove in a run.

"Parra was really good," Gibson said. "He made a few very good plays tonight."

Stuck in a scoreless tie in the fifth inning, Corbin helped his own cause by driving in the game's first run with a groundout against Hamels.

"I was trying to make sure I didn't swing and miss," Corbin said. "I'm just glad we got the run in."

An inning later, the D-backs gave Corbin a bit more breathing room in the sixth, manufacturing another run on a Cody Ross double, Martin Prado groundout and Parra's swinging RBI bunt to go up 2-0.

After Corbin cruised through the first six innings, Philadelphia finally broke through in the seventh with the help of a little luck. Delmon Young led off the frame with an infield hit after first-base umpire Vic Carapazza ruled that Cliff Pennington's throw forced Goldschmidt off the base. However, TV replays showed the first baseman still had a foot on the bag when the ball reached his glove.

Two batters later, Carlos Ruiz singled up the middle to put two on with one out. At that point, Gibson went to his bullpen and pulled Corbin after 89 pitches.

"I saw his velocity going down and he was missing his spots," Gibson said. "Earlier he was pounding the zone. They were also coming around to bat for the third time."

Two jam shots off Matt Reynolds later led to a run, but the left-hander escaped the inning by inducing Jimmy Rollins to pop out.

Reynolds, 28, has now tossed 17 scoreless innings to start the season.

Before Bell closed out the game, David Hernandez turned in a clean eighth, his third straight shutout frame after blowing three saves in a span of five outings.

"He was great, he's throwing the ball better," Gibson said. "He's got better location and his breaking ball has a little more depth to it that makes it much more effective."

Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.