Drury, Corbin pace Diamondbacks past Cubs
PHOENIX -- Patrick Corbin and Brandon Drury experienced plenty of down moments as the Arizona Diamondbacks went into a significant slump. But they combined to give Arizona a huge lift -- and a big win -- against a team they might see again in October.
Drury’s two-run double keyed a four-run sixth inning that broke up Chicago Cubs starter Jon Lester’s pitching duel with Corbin, and the Diamondbacks ended a three-game losing streak with a much-needed 6-2 win on Saturday night.
Arizona had dropped five of six before Saturday’s victory.
“It was a good win -- we needed it,” Corbin said.
Corbin (9-11) was coming off two successive rough starts that included a 16-4 loss to Chicago on Aug. 1 in which he allowed eight runs in three innings. On Saturday, he consistently shut down Cubs threats while allowing five hits in 6 2/3 scoreless innings.
“I’ve been thinking about it because I knew I was going to face them again,” Corbin said. “I just wanted to go out there and have a good outing. I’ve been thinking about it a lot.”
Archie Bradley followed with 1 1/3 scoreless innings, but closer Fernando Rodney gave up Kris Bryant’s two-run single in the ninth to end the shutout. David Hernandez came on to strike out Ben Zobrist looking with two runners on for his second save of the season and first with Arizona.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon was upset with home plate umpire Mark Wegner’s called third strike to end the game, saying Wegner knows he missed the call.
“I‘m sure he’s watched it, it was a ball obviously,” Maddon said.
The Cubs’ 10th loss in 27 games since the All-Star break dropped them into a virtual tie with streaking St. Louis for the NL Central lead. The Cardinals (61-56) won their eighth in a row, holding off Atlanta 6-5. The Cubs (60-55) have led the division for 19 consecutive days.
“It’s never easy,” Bryant said. “It’s never easy.”
Lester matched zeroes with Corbin until the game fell apart for Chicago in the sixth. Adam Rosales led off that inning with a single and, after an A.J. Pollock groundout, the Cubs elected to intentionally walk Paul Goldschmidt, who had four homers in his previous two games against them.
“I’d do it again and again and again. It was the right thing to do,” Maddon said. “It just didn’t work.”
The strategy backfired when J.D. Martinez lined a double to right field for the game’s first run.
Shortstop Javier Baez threw the ball 10 feet over catcher Alex Avila’s head for a two-base error while trying to get Goldschmidt at the plate on Ketel Marte’s grounder.
“We had some mistakes in the field which we should tighten up a bit,” Bryant said.
Drury, formerly an everyday player but starting at second base for the first time in seven games because of his defensive liabilities, drove a two-run double to center field to make it 4-0. That helped him make up for failing to turn a routine double play in the first, a potentially costly mistake that Chicago didn’t capitalize on.
“it’s not always going to be smooth -- it’s been rough lately and sometimes the game will kick you down,” Drury said. “I think it will make me better, make me a better player from it. My head is down and I‘m working every day to help this team win games.”
Lester (8-7) left an inning later after David Peralta’s leadoff double. Hector Rondon gave up Pollock’s run-scoring single before working out of further trouble.
Peralta finished it off with an inside-the-park homer in the eighth -- his 12th homer of the season -- against reliever Jason Grimm, a shot off the center field wall that ricocheted wildly and allowed Peralta to score easily. It was Arizona’s second inside-the-park homer of the season, with Marte getting one at Chase Field against Atlanta on July 26.
“I took a peek,” Peralta said, “and I saw the third base coach sending me home and I‘m like, `I‘m out of gas.’ I didn’t slide home at home plate, I just let myself down. I was out of breath. That was my first one, and that was a pretty special moment for me.”
Corbin gave up 14 runs (10 earned) in nine innings in his previous two starts, only to shut down the Cubs by striking out eight and walking one. Lester permitted four runs (three earned) and seven hits despite striking out nine in six-plus innings.
Bryant has reached base nine times in 10 plate appearances in the series on five singles, a double, two walks and a hit-by-pitch. He was 3-for-4 Saturday, with a flyout in the seventh with two on and two outs.
The Cubs threatened in the fifth after leadoff singles by Baez and Avila and Lester’s well-placed sacrifice bunt. But Baez was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Albert Almora Jr.’s grounder -- the call was upheld on replay -- and Anthony Rizzo’s long drive with the bases loaded and two outs was caught just short of the right field fence by Martinez.
Chicago also couldn’t score in the first when the Diamondbacks failed to convert two double-play grounders. Drury’s throwing error negated one and Corbin failed to cover first on the other, but Corbin pitched out of trouble by getting Ian Happ to ground out with two on.
In the bottom of the inning, Peralta and Rosales singled in succession off Lester, but the Cubs converted a double play on Pollock’s grounder and Goldschmidt struck out.
Arizona put runners on first and third with two outs in the fourth, but Drury popped up to end the threat.
NOTES: Cubs manager Joe Maddon started the left-handed-hitting Kyle Schwarber -- despite his .193 average -- against LHP Patrick Corbin because of his power potential. But Schwarber struck out in his first three at-bats. ... Arizona All-Star LHP Robbie Ray threw a simulated game as he recovers from taking a 108 mph line drive off his head on July 28 in St. Louis. ... CF Albert Almora Jr. became the 10th Cubs hitter to bat first this season. ... Chicago lost for only the fourth time in its last 17 road games. ... Corbin is 7-3 at home, 2-8 on the road.