If the Diamondbacks are going to create any mobility for themselves in the National League West Division, a few starting pitchers will have to do their share.
Over the past few weeks, only Chase Anderson and Josh Collmenter, among the starters, have been able to gain victories and that trend continued Thursday night.
That’s when Collmenter won his fourth straight outing and dominated the Cincinnati Reds 4-0 before 18,457 in Chase Field.
Collmenter allowed only three hits, a lead-off double to Bryan Pena in the second, a lead-off single to Billy Hamilton in the fourth and a lead-off single to Pena in the sixth. All three base runners were then wiped out in double plays.
In throwing the first complete game of his career, Collmenter faced the only minimum 27 hitters. This was the second time in franchise history an Arizona pitcher faced the minimum 27 hitters in a nine inning game. The last was Randy Johnson when he threw a perfect game against Atlanta on May 18, 2004.
The remaining starters Brandon McCarthy, Bronson Arroyo and Wade Miley have not won since Arroyo defeated the Nationals at home on May 13.
For his effort, Collmenter was in total command and kept the Reds at bay with strong location, using both sides of the plate and constantly getting ahead of hitters.
In the observation of manager Kirk Gibson, Collmenter was locked “in a zone” and clearly focused on the task at hand.
“It’s was fast ball command,” Collmenter said of his success Thursday night. “My goal was the keep the fast ball down in the zone and I was able to do that. I felt really good and my mechanics, all week, were strong. It’s all about execution and I was able to do that (Thursday night).”
In recent starts, Collmenter started slow and grew stronger. Against the Reds, his start was solid and continued convincing. In tossing just 94 pitches and 65 for strikes, Collmenter allowed only those three scattered hits and walked none.
“(Collmenter) made quality strikes,” said catcher Tuffy Gosewisch. “He was efficient with fast ball location and made them miss the barrel of the bat. He was able to force contact and when a pitcher can do that, he’s usually successful.”
For his part, Gosewisch said he once caught a no-hitter in the minors but never a pitcher who faced the minimum number of hitters in a nine inning game.
While the offense was minimal, the Diamondbacks scored enough and often to give Collmenter support.
An unearned run in the first and Aaron Hill’s fifth home run of the season, leading off the fourth, appeared all Collmenter needed. Hill’s RBI single in the sixth drove in Martin Prado, who doubled, and that gave Collmenter a comfortable, three-run cushion.
A fourth run was added in the seventh when Prado singled in A. J. Pollock, who doubled to start the frame.
While Gibson discounted a game like this could jump-start his team into a prolonged winning pattern, he did echo the “party line.”
“Right now, we’re just trying to win series,” he said. “This is a tough stretch for us because we’re playing teams we don’t normally see, like Cincinnati, Atlanta and Houston coming up. We’re playing better and there’s a good feeling around here right now.”
Offensively, Hill paced the attack with a 3-for-4 night while Prado and Pollock each added a 2-for-4 game.
In games through Thursday night, Pollock is now batting .306 and takes over the team lead. Paul Goldschmidt, who went 0-for-3 with a walk Thursday night, is now hitting .305.
After Paul Goldschmidt crushed a monster two-run homer off the center field video board Wednesday night, people around the Diamondbacks were buzzing the next day.
The 450 foot shot, whose distance was estimated by ESPN Stats and Info, was recorded as the fourth longest home run this season. Goldschmidt’s meteor is behind the Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton’s shot of 484 feet against the Padres on April 4, a 482 foot blast from the Red Sox’ David Ortiz against the Yankees on April 22 and Justin Upton’s 477 foot homer on April 10 against the Mets.
Adam Dunn, while playing for the Diamondbacks, is credited with the longest home run by in Chase Field history. That’s when he lifted a 504 footer off the Rockies’ Glendon Rusch on Sept. 27, 2008.