Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 6/2/13
CHICAGO -- As they seem to fairly often, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson's pregame words resonated even more once Sunday's game had been completed. This time, it was Gibson talking about starting pitcher Patrick Corbin's hot start and what's ahead for the left-hander. "He gets it, he knows how hard this is," Gibson said in the visiting manager's office at Wrigley Field. "It's going to get tougher and tougher, so he's got to continue to improve, and he's driven to do that." Sure enough, things got tougher for Corbin in his start against the Cubs, but he still found a way to keep the D-backs in it and remain undefeated, improving to 9-0 on the year with the team's 8-4 victory. There wasn't anything dazzling about the performance, which allowed Corbin to move into a tie with former Cy Young winner Brandon Webb for the best start to a season in franchise history, but it was effective. "He pitched good for us, gave us a chance to win," Gibson said. "Patrick did his job, and the bullpen came in and shut them down." Right away it looked like Corbin might be in trouble. He hit the second batter of the game, Starlin Castro, and walked the next. After getting another out, he hit another batter and again walked the next, pushing a run across. But Corbin didn't allow a hit in the inning and escaped with the damage limited to a run. Even throwing 32 pitches in the first inning, Corbin lasted six, as he has in each of his 11 starts this season. The D-backs are 11-0 in those games. Corbin didnt have his best stuff in his last start either, and maybe less so on Sunday. But he said felt like he found himself well enough after the first inning, although, his catcher offered a different assessment. "The whole game, he didnt have good stuff," backup catcher Wil Nieves said. "His slider wasnt there, his fastball was cutting. He kept us in the game. He didnt feel good at all, but he battled and gave us an opportunity to win the game." On the other side, Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney seemed to think Corbin had something going Sunday. "He's got good stuff," Barney said. "You look over his scouting report, and a lot of time his breaking stuff leaves the zone. One thing that's made him so effective is that everything comes out of the same slot; everything looks the same out of the hand. That's tough to do." It's a testament to Corbin's demeanor that a long, frustrating first inning didn't derail him. Keeping his pitch count low each inning, he ended the day with a season-high four earned runs allowed on six hits to go along with five strikeouts. "I think I was just rushing with my delivery a little bit, cutting off most of my fastballs, and I wasn't locating too well," Corbin said. "That was basically it. " After giving up a double to Alfonso Soriano in the fifth inning, Corbin gave up a home run to Scott Hairston to tie the score at 4-all. Again, Corbin kept his composure and got four more outs to limit the bullpen's workload to three innings. As much as Corbin did to keep the game close Sunday, he had just as much help from the D-backs offense, which tallied 13 hits, only one of which was for extra bases. "The offense, they score eight runs a game, we should win every time," Corbin said. "That just makes it a lot easier." Without the offensive backing, Corbin might finally have a loss on his record. Instead, he's in impressive company in the D-backs' record books and leads the majors in wins while ranking fourth with a 2.06 ERA. Corbin's run could end his next time out, and he knows as much, but for one more day Sunday he was unbeatable, even if he didn't look it.
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