Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 8/12/12
PHOENIX -- Patrick Corbin's remarkable ascent up the Diamondbacks' organizational depth chart reached yet another high point Sunday when the rookie left-hander flat out dominated the best team in baseball. Few, if any, could have predicted before the season began that Corbin would for any stretch be the D-backs' best starter, but the 23-year has been exactly so since rejoining the rotation. Even Corbin didn't see his fast rise coming. "I never would have thought that," Corbin said when asked he could have imagined back in spring training he'd be besting the Nationals for his fourth major league win. The effort helped the D-backs avoid a sweep and get back above .500 with a 7-4 win. Over seven innings, Corbin allowed two runs on four hits, seven strikeouts and no walks. The outing included five perfect innings and a stretch of sixteen straight batters retired. "Patrick was outstanding," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "Washington's been tough on us this series and he shut them down." Over three starts since returning from Triple-A Reno, Corbin has given up just four runs on 12 hits for a 1.89 ERA over 19 innings. In his previous two starts he allowed two and three walks, respectively, but Sunday gave up no free bases and tied a career high for strikeouts in a game. Corbin's final line Sunday was not his best this season, but the result almost certainly was. That Corbin held an offensively potent Nationals lineup to one hit over six innings and helped snap their eight-game winning streak showed just how far he has come this season. An impressive spring training got Corbin on the radar, and he has taken advantage of every opportunity since. He had reasonable success in his first two big league stints earlier this season but has been his best so far this time around. "He's just more comfortable, he understands the league better, understands his catchers better," Gibson said. "He knows what to do with any given situation." Corbin acknowledges the adjustments he has made but contends that more than anything confidence has been the key of late. Knowing he can succeed against bona fide big league hitters, Corbin said, has made a big difference. So has not trying to be perfect each time out. Gibson also credited Corbin's improved breaking ball and intense yet subtle competitive spirit for his recent success. "He doesn't like to lose," Gibson said. "He doesn't like to fail. He has that within him. When things get tough, he buckles down. He doesn't crack." It seemed strange that highly hyped top prospect Trevor Bauer pitched a relatively average 4 13 innings with Reno on Sunday while Corbin dominated the Nationals. Bauer struggled in four major league starts this year and will likely remain in the minors until at least next season, barring unforeseen circumstances. Bauer will no doubt be a big part of the D-backs' rotation plans in coming seasons, but Corbin has quickly done enough to secure his place in those plans. "We're trying to win games every day within this season, but we do look ahead and understand that (Corbin) could be a very critical piece for us," Gibson said. "He's got it all. He's the kind of guy you'd want."
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