Over the weekend, the Arizona Diamondbacks eagerly welcomed the lowly San Diego Padres to Chase Field and proceeded to take two of three games from the Padres. After defeating the hapless Friars on both Friday and Sunday, the Diamondbacks (28-22) are now tied for first place in the National League West with the San Francisco Giants.
In the series opener on Friday night, right-handed Brandon McCarthy (2-3, 4.36 ERA) threw seven innings of one-run baseball to help the D-backs win 5-2. The starter has now given up only one run in his last 24 innings pitched.
It took a while for the Arizona hitters to figure out San Diego's lefty Eric Stults, but they were finally able to catch up to his sizzling 86 mph fastball in the seventh.
Miguel Montero hit a ground-rule double to start the inning. Then, Martín Prado teased the foul line with a double and scored Montero. Pinch-hitter Wil Nieves sent Prado home when he banked the baseball off the left-field wall.
Big Paul Goldschmidt continued to come up big, as he doubled in the Diamondbacks' fourth and fifth runs of the game with an RBI. Arizona never looked back after the huge inning and relievers David Hernandez and Heath Bell wrapped up the game.
Unfortunately, the D-backs did not receive the same level of pitching in the second game of the series. Wade Miley (3-4, 4.53) could not make it on the mound for four innings, as he gave up seven runs to the Padres in only 3.2 frames.
The Diamondbacks couldn't keep up with San Diego and lost 10-4. Eric Chavez provided the biggest highlight of the game for Arizona, and continued his surprising resurrection, by blasting a 406-foot three-run homer to right field. Goldschmidt also had an RBI single in the third.
The Diamondbacks' pitching fared much better in Sunday's rubber game, as the team beat the Padres 6-5. Even though, Patrick Corbin (8-0, 1.71) was not his usual dominating self, he threw a solid six innings, giving up three earned runs and became the first left-handed pitcher in Diamondbacks history to start a season 8-0.
After Corbin gave up a run in the top of the first inning, the hot-hitting Chavez lined a two-run homerun to regain the lead for Arizona. In May, Chavez is now hitting an unfathomable .434 average and has driven-in 13 runs.
Along with Chavez, Prado also carried the offense for the D-Backs by going 4-4 with two doubles and an RBI. After starting the season extremely slow, the infielder finally seems to be living up to his reputation and has a hit in seven of his last eight at-bats.
Bell managed to pick up his eight save of the season as a closer, pitching a scoreless ninth inning to ensure the Arizona win.
Today, Arizona will face a considerably tougher test against the Texas Rangers (32-18). They will play the D-backs' second-ever doubleheader at Chase Field in a clash of division leaders.
The Diamondbacks will send its best pitching prospect Tyler Skaggs (no record), called up from Triple-A Reno, against the equally green Rangers' southpaw Martin Perez (no record) during the first contest of the twin bill this afternoon. In the second game, Trevor Cahill (3-5, 2.81 ERA) is on the bump for the D-Backs and will face Yu Darvish (7-2, 2.84 ERA), arguably one of the better pitchers in the American League.
First pitch in the afternoon game is at 12:40 p.m., while the nightcap starts at 6:40 p.m. TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR 620 AM. More info: www.dbacks.com.