Tagged: Josh Collmenter

Collmenter dominates Brewers in Game 3 win

Photo by Jordan Megenhardt

By Greg Dillard

It was the biggest start of his young Major League career, and it came in Game 3 of the 2011 National League Division Series.

Josh Collmenter took the mound in his first postseason start with his team in an 0-2 series deficit. Arizona was just a single loss away from having its season come to a premature end.

The D-backs desperately needed a solid outing from their starter in hopes of prolonging their 2011 playoff hopes, and Collmenter certainly delivered just what Arizona hoped for and then some.

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D-backs beat Giants in series finale to earn sweep

Photo by Jordan Megenhardt

By Greg Dillard

The Force was with Josh Collmenter and the D-backs.

It was Star Wars Day at Chase Field on Sunday, and the variety of Darth Vaders, Princess Leias and Yodas in attendance saw the 2011 National League West champion D-backs cap the magical weekend off with a 5-2 win over San Francisco in the series finale.

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Gibson preps for Giants series

Photo by Jordan Megenhardt

By Greg Dillard

When two arch division rivals are playing meaningful September baseball, it makes for plenty of exciting series late in the summer.

The D-backs and Giants have been locked in a compelling battle for the division crown since late May. Arizona holds a six-game lead with six games to play in the regular season. With the magic number at one, San Francisco comes to the Valley of the Sun for a three-game series.

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D-backs claim sole possession of first place

Photo by Jordan Megenhardt

By Greg Dillard

First place in the National League West hung in the balance on Wednesday night, with the D-backs entering the day a slim half game behind the Giants.

But with the Pirates handing San Francisco a 9-2 loss earlier in the afternoon, the D-backs and Giants were tied atop the NL West standings, as Josh Collmenter toed the rubber vs. the Astros in his 16th start of the season and sole possession of first place on the line.

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Collmenter Sets Franchise Record

Photography: Jon Willey

By Greg Dillard

Josh Collmenter set a D-backs franchise record Thursday by throwing 12 consecutive scoreless innings as a starter to begin his career.

The right-hander shut out the Braves through six frames, limiting the opposition to just two hits. After yet another solid outing, he now has an  0.69 ERA in 26 innings pitched this season, including six shutout innings against the Dodgers last Saturday.

Collmenter got things started by retiring the first five batters he faced. After a double of the bat of Freddie Freeman in the second, Collmenter then retired four more in a row through the third inning.

He ended his evening on a strong note by setting Atlanta down 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth. It was an efficient outing for Collmenter, who threw 76 pitches.

“That’s been my game plan to throw strikes and make them put the ball in play,” Collmenter said. “Once again tonight the defense, with a lot of plays going into foul territory and making some plays up against the fence, played flawless tonight.”

Collmenter even collected his first career Major League hit in the third innings when he hit a high chopper to third base that Chipper Jones couldn’t corral.

Thursday’s start was yet another strong performance for Collmenter in his rookie season.

“It’s definitely surprising,” Collmenter said. “You come up and you want to do well. You want to throw strikes and give the team a chance to win. Moving into the starting role, I think, has been back to my comfort zone a little bit.”

Johnson provided heroics in Wednesday’s comeback win

In Wednesday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves, second baseman Kelly Johnson hit the ball hard in each of his at-bats.

In the opening frame, he laced a ground ball to first base but was retired by Freeman. Two innings later, Johnson grounded out once again, this time to second.

His third plate appearance yielded a well-struck fly ball to deep center field that was corralled by Nate McLouth.

Johnson laid down a sacrifice bunt in the seventh inning and was hit by a pitch in the ninth.

Those rockets off the bat did not yield any hits. But in his sixth plate appearance, he finally broke through.

With runners on first and second in the bottom of the eleventh, Johnson laced a Craig Kimbrel offering into right field to plate Josh Wilson and knot the score at 4-4.

It was a crucial turning point for Johnson and the D-backs who entered the inning three outs from defeat.

Against Kimbrel, Johnson went into the at-bat looking for a fastball to hit hard.

“That was the only pitch I was looking for,” Johnson said. “I was wondering about his slider. He threw a couple to (Ryan Roberts) and so it was just one of those things where I just wanted to sell out one time to see what happened, glad that I hit it hard.”

Johnson’s single also advanced Roberts to third base, who scored one batter later on Justin Upton’s walk-off single.

It was a marquee victory for the D-backs against a talented Braves squad.

There were undoubtedly some familiar faces in the opposing dugout for Johnson. He called Atlanta home for the first four years of his Major League career.

“There’s significance because they’re one of the best teams in the National League,” Johnson said. “It’s fun to play against your friends. It’s good to beat good teams all the time.”

Collmenter to Get First Start on Saturday

Photography: Jon Willey

By Greg Dillard

Since making his Major League debut on April 17, D-backs right-hander Josh Collmenter has looked good in relief.

He will now get a chance to continue his strong pitching as a starter.

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson tabbed Collmenter to start Saturday’s game against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. He will be opposed on the mound by Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley, who is 2-2 with a 3.91 ERA in this season.

In seven appearances with the big league club, Collmenter has thrown 14 innings with a 1.29 ERA, 11 strikeouts and just one walk.

“He’s done well in that capacity,” Gibson said. “I think ultimately he is our best option.”

Collmenter has surrendered just eight hits, and two earned runs as a reliever. Those runs came in his April 24 outing against the Mets. Otherwise, he has held opponents scoreless in his other six outings.

The right-hander began the 2011 season at Triple-A Reno where he made one start. In that game, Collmenter allowed just two hits and one earned run in six innings to earn the win.

While he’s been a reliever during his short stint with the D-backs, Collmenter is not short on starting experience.

“He’s been a starter really his whole career,” Gibson said. “He’s been successful everywhere he’s gone. He throws strikes.”

Collmenter was a 15th round draft pick by the D-backs in the 2007 amateur draft. Throughout his five seasons in the D-backs’ minor league system, he has notched 41 wins with a 3.50 ERA. He made 94 appearances, with 92 coming as a starter.

In 515 innings pitched, Collmenter fanned 472 opposing batters to average 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings.

Collmenter pitches with a unique delivery, throwing directly over the top. He boasts a solid fastball and an excellent changeup to go with a developing curveball.

“I don’t think people view him as having overpowering stuff, but everywhere he’s been, he gets people out,” Gibson said. “He locates the ball pretty well, and that’s certainly a key to his three pitches. He’s very deceptive.”

Collmenter takes the place of Barry Enright in the D-backs’ starting rotation. Enright was optioned to Triple-A Reno last week after posting a 6.49 ERA in six starts this season.

This weekend’s series marks the first time the D-backs and Dodgers will face off in 2011. Saturday’s matchup is slated to begin at 4:10 p.m. The Dodgers’ first games at Chase Field won’t happen until after the All-Star Game, July 15-17.

Drew, Enright Lead the Way in D-backs Win

The D-backs came out swinging in Thursday night’s matchup against the visiting Chicago Cubs.

Behind a 10 hit outburst, the home team cruised to an 11-2 win in game one of the four-game series.

In the opening inning, the D-backs scored early and often against Cubs starter Ryan Dempster. Dempster would last just a third of an inning as the D-backs exploded for seven runs on four hits and four walks. It was the 20th seven run inning in team history.

Chris Young got things started by rocketing a Dempster offering into the left field corner for a standup double.

Kelly Johnson and Justin Upton both reached base via a walk and hit by pitch to load the bases. One batter later, Stephen Drew provided the striking blow by smashing his first career grand slam into the right field bleachers.

Dempster struggled mightily with his command, and the D-backs made him pay.

After Melvin Mora, Russell Branyan, and Gerardo Parra all walked, pitcher Barry Enright smacked an RBI single to right centerfield to plate Mora. The D-backs collected nine walks in the game.

In Young’s second at-bat of the inning, he laced an RBI single into left field to extend the Arizona lead to 7-0. With Young’s two hits in the same inning, it was the 23rd time a D-backs player had collected a pair of hits in the same frame.

“We haven’t had one like that in awhile,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “But at the same time you can’t relax. The guys played hard. The defense was awesome tonight.”

In the bottom of the second, the offensive outburst continued thanks to a leadoff single from Drew and Miguel Montero’s RBI double.

Arizona tacked on to its lead in the third on a two-run blast off the bat of Montero. The homer was his fourth of the season, and pushed the D-backs to a 10-1 lead.

Drew knocked in another RBI in the seventh for the D-backs’ 11th run of the night.

With that RBI groundout, Drew set a new career high with five RBI in a single game.

Enright dazzles in first win of season

In his first four starts this season, Barry Enright struggled to put together an all round solid effort. He entered his Thursday start with an 0-2 record and a 6.65 ERA.

The struggles on the mound came to an abrupt halt for Enright against the Cubs.

“It’s been a while from the last win,” Enright said. “They spotted me a pretty good lead in the first inning and took a lot of the pressure and attention off.”

The righthander cruised through the game’s first four innings, allowing just a solo home run to Cubs catcher Koyie Hill.

He set the Cubs down 1-2-3 in both the second and fourth frames.

Enright ran into trouble in the fifth when he walked three Cubs hitters to load the bases. He got out of the jam unscathed when Upton made a diving catch in right field to end the inning.

Later in the sixth, Enright’s defense helped him out yet again with a pair of phenomenal defensive plays from Mora and Parra. Enright then struck out Carlos Pena to end the inning and seal his third 1-2-3 inning of the night.

He hurled 6 2/3 innings of two-run baseball to earn his first win of the season.

“He just controlled the zone better,” Gibson said. “He went into that one inning where I think he walked three guys, but got a lot of ground ball outs.”

Enright believes he was able to make some necessary adjustments after watching film of his past starts.

“Definitely,” Enright said. “[Gibson] actually had me go back every day and watch all my starts last year. It actually really helped me, just seeing how I attacked hitters. The tempo I had was different this year.”

Collmenter solid in relief outing

D-backs reliever Josh Collmenter took over for Enright in the seventh inning and kept the Chicago bats quiet for the remainder of the game.

In the ninth, the right-hander struck out Tyler Colvin to start the inning. He then retired Hill on a fly out to left before getting the pinch hitter Darwin Barney to ground out for the final out.

Collmenter did not allow a single hit in his 2 1/3 innings of work. He fanned three batters while walking just one.

“I was excited to get a chance to finish the game,” Collmenter said. “The crowd gets on their feet. They get two strikes on the guy like I did and they’re just excited for a strikeout.”