HOUSTON (AP) – Patrick Corbin was kicking himself for one small mistake that led to his exit.
The Arizona pitcher came within an out of his first career shutout and first complete game since 2013 in the Diamondbacks’ 4-0 victory over the Houston Astros on Thursday.
After allowing a two-out double to Yuli Gurriel in the bottom of the ninth, Corbin was pulled by Arizona manager Torey Lovullo. Archie Bradley took over and struck out Marwin Gonzalez.
“Just left the fastball up on the last guy – just one of the few mistakes I had,” Corbin said. “He hit it pretty good so that’s the one thing I’m frustrated about. I wasn’t able to finish. You don’t get those chances too often. You try to do it every game.”
Corbin (10-11) allowed four hits and one walk, struck out seven and threw just 105 pitches. He has 16 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings, blanking the Chicago Cubs in 6 2/3 innings in his previous start.
“It’s hard to take your starting pitcher out of a game in that moment and that time,” Lovullo said. “I feel like it was the best thing for our time.”
After scoring a combined 18 runs in consecutive wins over Arizona on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Astros’ bats went cold in the final game of the four-game series, which was split between Arizona and Houston.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch vented frustration about the balls and strikes calls from home plate umpire Paul Nauert, focusing heavily on the final strikeout of Gonzalez. On a full-count pitch that appeared low and outside, Gonzalez struck out looking.
“We could have built an inning after that,” Hinch said. “I’m tired of it. I’m tired of our guys getting taken to task for knowing the strike zone, and that’s not the reason that we lost today. That’s not the reason that we’ve had a tough week, but it’s garbage when you start getting at-bats taken away from you.”
Astros second baseman Jose Altuve – who leads the majors by a wide margin with a .361 batting average – shied away from criticizing the umpires but stood by Hinch.
“A.J. is the manager of this team and if he thinks something is going wrong, it’s because it’s going wrong,” Altuve said. “We’re all in this together, and I’m going to support everything he said. I know, if he said it, it’s because something is happening.”
Arizona second baseman Daniel Descalso hit an inside-the-park home run off Astros starter Mike Fiers in the fourth inning on a deep drive that sailed over the head of center fielder Jake Marisnick and bounced off the wall away from him.
It was the 14th inside-the-park homer in Arizona franchise history and the third this season. It hadn’t happened outside of Arizona since Kelly Stinnett did it on Aug. 29, 2005, in San Diego.
Descalso’s homer put Arizona up 2-0 after Jeff Mathis’ single that scored Ketel Marte, who reached third following a walk and a two-base throwing error by Fiers. Jake Lamb made it 3-0 in the sixth with his 26th homer. Fiers (7-8) allowed three runs, two earned, on seven hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings.
Fiers echoed Hinch’s sentiment that the strike zone was inconsistent.
“It hurt us today,” Fiers said. “I think it was one-sided. It was tough. We felt like we didn’t get the pitches we should’ve got, and it was the same way when we were at the plate. It’s tough when the zone is that big for them and it shrinks for your guys.”
The Diamondbacks added a run in the eighth when David Peralta scored on a wild pitch from Francis Martes and a throwing error by catcher Max Stassi. The Astros committed two errors in the game, and Arizona had three.