Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Josh Collmenter got a much-needed bounce-back performance Wednesday night as the D-Backs won their second straight against the lowly Houston Astros at the woefully underattended Chase Field.
Collmenter had been downright awful in previous two starts, giving up 11 runs in just six innings. But in the D-Backs' 6-3 win Wednesday, the 25-year-old threw seven strong innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits and a walk while striking out five. His record stands at 7-7 on the season, and he owns a respectable 3.51 earned-run average.
With the win, the D-Backs moved back into first place in the National League West because the San Francisco Giants were beaten 9-2 by the Pittsburgh Pirates. The D-Backs own a half-game lead on the Giants and are one game up on them in the loss column with 45 games left to play in the season. The D-Backs and Giants will meet six more times, in September, including three games at Chase Field on the final weekend of the season.
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The D-Backs never trailed in Wednesday's game, as shortstop Willie Bloomquist led off the game with his fourth home run of the season. In the inning, Arizona tacked on two more runs off Astros starting pitcher Henry Sosa, who was making his major-league debut, to make it 3-0. After that, the D-Backs never looked back, adding insurance runs in the fifth, seventh, and eighth innings. Reliever David Hernandez closed out the game for this 10th save of the season, as the usual closer, J.J. Putz, had the night off.
The other notable statistic of the evening was the attendance at Chase Field: 18,628. And Monday and Tuesday's attendance figures weren't much better. Pretty sad for a first-place team.
Tonight, the two teams close out the four-game series with the D-Backs trying to take three of four. The D-Backs will send Joe Saunders (8-9, 3.61) to the mound to face the Astros' Brett Myers (3-12, 4.76). First pitch is 6:40 p.m. TV: Fox Sports Net. Radio: KTAR 620 AM. More info: www.dbacks.com.