PHOENIX — Patrick Corbin breezed through his previous start, getting hitters to dive after his slider, chase pitches out of the strike zone.
The San Diego Padres had seen the young left-hander once before and weren’t going to be lured into his effectively wild approach.
It still didn’t matter.
Corbin battled through six innings and passed a five-time Cy Young Award winner along the way, becoming the first Arizona left-hander to start with eight straight wins in the Diamondbacks’ 6-5 victory over the San Diego Padres on Sunday.
“The thing about Patrick is he kept his composure,” Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. “This was a total contrast to the last game he pitched and he kept grinding it out.”
A stellar start to the season put Corbin in select company, joining Randy Johnson as the only left-handers in team history to open a season 7-0 after tossing a three-hitter against Colorado his last start.
The Padres were much more selective after facing Corbin on May 4 and made the 23-year-old work for his outs the second time around, becoming the first team to score more than two earned runs against him this season.
Corbin fought his way through it, making just enough good pitches and getting plenty of help from the offense to pass Johnson and become the third Arizona pitcher to start 8-0.
Eric Chavez homered for the second straight game, Martin Prado matched a career high with four of Arizona’s 11 hits and drove in a big run in the seventh inning after getting three hits the night before.
Corbin also helped himself with a run-scoring single in the fifth off Tommy Layne (0-1).
Heath Bell closed out the workman-like win with a perfect ninth for his eighth save.
“They were laying off some good pitches,” Corbin said. “I didn’t have my best stuff, but I wanted to go out there and battle them.”
Corbin made one big mistake and Carlos Quentin hit it out for a two-run homer in the fifth inning. Kyle Blanks also had two RBIs, but the Padres couldn’t get much else going against Arizona’s left-hander to lose for the fourth time in five games.
“Corbin, you can see why his stats are what they are,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “That is a live left arm, it really is. A live fastball, good slider and occasionally a solid changeup. We put some stress on him, we did. We had some good swings but he is a good pitcher. We will see him again. He is going to be around a while.”
Corbin has been one of baseball’s best pitchers through the first two months of the season, using an effectively wild approach and a wicked slider to keep hitters off-balance.
He went 6-8 with a 4.54 ERA in 22 games last season — 17 starts — after being traded from the Los Angeles Angels in 2010.
Corbin’s success this season has come from his ability to throw strikes; he leads the majors hitting the plate 71 percent of the time.
The Padres jumped on Corbin’s strike-throwing tendencies right away, with leadoff hitter Chris Denorfia hitting his first pitch past Chavez at third for a double. Denorfia moved over on a sacrifice and scored on Chase Headley’s groundout, giving San Diego an early lead on a pitcher who hasn’t trailed much this season.
It didn’t last the inning.
Paul Goldschmidt lined a double off Jason Marquis in the bottom half and Chavez followed with his seventh homer of the season, a two-run, opposite-field shot to left.
Arizona added two more runs in the second against Marquis, on Miguel Montero’s run-scoring double and a sacrifice fly by Gerardo Parra that made it 4-1.
Marquis continued to labor with his command and was replaced after walking two in the fourth inning. He allowed four runs on seven hits in 3 1-3 innings
“There were some positives and some negatives,” said Marquis, who had won his five previous decisions. “Obviously, I would like to go deeper. I just wasn’t executing. They had a good game plan. They were attacking me early in the count. A lot of first-pitch, second-pitch swings. It worked to their advantage today.”
Corbin wasn’t exactly sharp, either.
He hurt himself in the fourth inning with an off-balance throw that sailed into the stands for an error, setting up Blanks’ run-scoring single that cut Arizona’s lead to 4-2.
An opening walk in the fifth led to trouble, too, when Quentin hit his fifth homer of the season, a two-run shot that tied the game at 4-all
Corbin helped himself in the bottom half and put Arizona back up with his second hit of the season, a looping, RBI single just over the third base bag. He was done following a leadoff single in the seventh inning after allowing four runs — three earned — on seven hits with five strikeouts.
Corbin joins Micah Owings in 2011 and Brandon Webb in 2006 and 2008 as the only Arizona pitchers to open a season 8-0.
“I just wanted to try to keep us in the game,” Corbin said. “We did a good job scoring early, putting us ahead and I just wanted to keep it.”
He did, just barely, putting him alone in Arizona’s record book and ahead of the best pitcher in franchise history.
NATIONALS 6, PHILLIES 1
WASHINGTON — In a showdown of aces with disappointing records, Stephen Strasburg and Cole Hamels matched each other until the Washington Nationals scored five runs in the seventh inning of a 6-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.
Strasburg (3-5) allowed five hits in eight innings, walked none and struck out a season-high nine, giving up a run in the eighth on his first big league balk.
Making his latest no-support start, Hamels (1-8) struck out six and allowed only three hits through six innings. Ryan Zimmerman’s infield single started a rally that included a pair of errors and Steve Lombardozzi’s two-run double. Hamels has lost five straight starts, has had only 20 runs of support scored all season when he’s been in the game and hasn’t pitched with a lead since April 7.
CUBS 5, REDS 4, 10 INNINGS
CINCINNATI — Alfonso Soriano hit a tying two-run homer in the eighth inning and Welington Castillo had a go-ahead double in the 10th, helping the Cubs rally from a four-run deficit in a win over the Reds that stopped a season-high, six-game losing streak.
Soriano singled in the seventh and scored Chicago’s first run off Johnny Cueto on Luis Valbuena’s two-out single.
Anthony Rizzo hit an RBI double against Logan Ondrusek in the eighth — his third double in two games — and Soriano followed with his fifth homer of the season and first since May 13, a 394-foot drive to left-center.
J.J. Hoover (0-4) walked Scott Hairston with two outs in the 10th, and Castillo followed with his double into the left-field corner.
Kevin Gregg (1-0) pitched 1 1-3 hitless innings, stopping the Reds’ five-game winning streak.
METS 4, BRAVES 2
NEW YORK — Ike Davis busted out of his prolonged slump with a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning and the Mets rallied past the Braves to end an eight-game losing streak at home.
Shaun Marcum struck out a career-high 12 and Lucas Duda homered for the Mets, who stopped Atlanta’s eight-game winning streak and avoided a three-game sweep. The Braves had won 15 of 18 against New York and five in a row at Citi Field.
Pinch-hitter Justin Turner led off the eighth with a single against Cory Gearrin (1-1). David Wright struck out but Duda punched a ground-rule double to left and John Buck’s run-scoring single tied it at 2.
Pinch-hitter Mike Baxter was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Davis, who pulled a two-run single through the right side for a 4-2 Mets lead.
LaTroy Hawkins (1-0) worked a scoreless inning and Bobby Parnell struck out two in the ninth for his seventh save. It was a spirited and heartening win for the Mets heading into their Subway Series against the crosstown-rival New York Yankees beginning Monday night.
PIRATES 5, BREWERS 4
MILWAUKEE — Wandy Rodriguez won his fourth consecutive start, Pedro Alvarez had a two-run double and the Pirates built an early four-run lead before holding off the Brewers.
The Pirates have won 13 of 15 and are a season high 12 games over .500.
Rodriguez (6-2) gave up three earned runs on seven hits in five innings to earn the victory. He struck out four and didn’t walk a batter. Jason Grilli pitched a scoreless ninth for his major league-leading 20th save.
Pittsburgh got to Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo for a run in the second on Jordy Mercer’s two-out triple, which scored Michael McKenry, who walked.
Gallardo (3-5) labored through just four innings.
CARDINALS 5, DODGERS 3
LOS ANGELES — Matt Carpenter drove in the go-ahead run with an infield single and Pete Kozma hit a three-run double against Clayton Kershaw, leading the Cardinals to a victory over the Dodgers.
The Cardinals improved the major league’s best record to 32-17 and increased their NL Central lead over Cincinnati to 1 1/2 games.
Seth Maness (4-1) got credit for the victory in relief of starter Shelby Miller despite retiring only two of the six batters he faced.
Edward Mujica pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 14th save in 14 attempts.
Kershaw (5-3) gave up four runs, seven hits and three walks in seven innings and struck out five as his ERA rose from 1.35 to 1.68.
GIANTS 7, ROCKIES 3
SAN FRANCISCO — Brandon Belt hit a tiebreaking, two-run double in the fifth inning to back a shaky outing by Matt Cain, and the Giants rallied past the Rockies.
Buster Posey homered and Andres Torres added two hits and an RBI to help the Giants close a six-game homestand with consecutive wins. The defending World Series champions play 14 of their next 18 games on the road.
Cain (4-2) matched his season high of five walks but allowed only two runs and two hits in five innings.
In his first appearance at AT&T Park, Jon Garland (3-6) allowed five runs — two earned — seven hits and four walks in five innings.
ANGELS 5, ROYALS 2
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Josh Hamilton started the Angels’ comeback when he homered leading off the seventh inning, and Los Angeles beat the Kansas City Royals 5-2 Sunday for its eighth straight win.
The Angels were unable to get into their dugout until about 90 minutes before the game because bees swarmed into it. A beekeeper was summoned to solve the problem.
Jerome Williams (4-1) then allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings for the Angels, on their longest winning streak since taking eight straight from May 22-29 last year.
Kansas City has lost nine of 10 and 16 of 20, dropping to 21-26. In only three of those 16 losses have the Royals scored more than three runs.
Los Angeles trailed 2-0 before Hamilton homered on the first pitch of the seventh from Wade Davis (3-4), giving the former AL MVP home runs in consecutive games for only the third time since signing with the Angels during the offseason.
RED SOX 6, INDIANS 5
BOSTON — Jacoby Ellsbury hit a game-ending, two-run double on Joe Smith’s first pitch, capping a four-run, ninth-inning rally that lifted the Red Sox over the Indians.
Boston won three of four against Cleveland, managed by Terry Francona in his first series back at Fenway Park since leaving the Red Sox after the 2011 season.
Cleveland led 5-2 entering the ninth, when Chris Perez (2-1) walked Dustin Pedroia leading off. David Ortiz doubled, and Mike Napoli and Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit consecutive RBI groundouts.
Walks to Jonny Gomes and Jose Iglesias around Stephen Drew’s single loaded the bases. Perez fell behind Ellsbury 2-1 in the count and left with an arm injury. Ellsbury then doubled to left-center.
Craig Breslow (2-0) allowed one run and two hits in two innings.
OAKLAND 6, HOUSTON 2
HOUSTON — Bartolo Colon struck out a season-high nine in seven scoreless innings, and the Athletics won their ninth straight against the Astros this season.
Oakland’s Nate Freiman, who was with the Astros in spring training as a Rule 5 selection, had a double and home run with three RBIs for the A’s.
Dating to 2007, Oakland has won 11 straight against Houston, tied for the third longest winning streak against one team in A’s history.
Colon (5-2) won his second straight start, scattering nine hits two day after turning 40.
The Astros are 14-36 in their first year in the AL, their worst 50-game start in club history.
After leaving runners on third in two of the first three innings, Oakland sent nine batter to the plate in a five-run fourth against Dallas Keuchel (1-2).
TIGERS 6, TWINS 1
DETROIT — Max Scherzer pitched six solid innings to remain undefeated this season, and Avisail Garcia broke the game open with a bases-loaded triple, leading the Tigers over the Twins.
Scherzer, who retired his last 22 batters in a win at Cleveland on Tuesday, allowed a run and three hits Sunday in improving to 7-0. He struck out six and walked three.
Torii Hunter homered for the Tigers, and Prince Fielder drove in a run with a fourth-inning double. Garcia, pinch-hitting in the sixth, cleared the bases to make it 6-1.
Mike Pelfrey (3-5) allowed five runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings. He walked three and struck out five.
Minnesota has lost 11 of 12.
BLUE JAYS 6, ORIOLES 5
TORONTO — Munenori Kawasaki hit a game-ending two-run double in a four-run ninth inning, lifting the Blue Jays to a victory over the Orioles.
Trailing 5-2 to begin the ninth against Orioles closer Jim Johnson (2-5), the Blue Jays got a leadoff double from Edwin Encarnacion, a single from Adam Lind and an RBI single by J.P. Arencibia.
Brett Lawrie flied out and Anthony Gose walked to load the bases for Mark DeRosa, who made it 5-4 with a fielder’s choice.
That brought up Kawasaki, who lined a double up the alley in left-center, scoring Arencibia and DeRosa from first with the winning run.
The blown save was Johnson’s fourth of the season and fourth in five chances.
Steve Delabar (4-1) got the win despite allowing Matt Wieters’ two-run double in the ninth.
RAYS 8, YANKEES 3
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Alex Cobb took a three-hit shutout into the ninth inning and led the Rays to a win that extended CC Sabathia’s winless streak to five, one short of his career high.
Cobb (6-2) lost his shutout bid when Brett Gardner homered leading off the ninth and he wound up allowing two runs and five hits in 8 1-3 innings with eight strikeouts.
Sabathia (4-4) dropped to 0-2 with a 4.85 ERA since he beat Toronto on April 27. He allowed seven runs and seven hits in seven innings and is 10-11 in 31 starts against the Rays, including a 3-10 mark since joining the Yankees. His overall ERA is 3.96.
Sabathia’s career-high streak for consecutive winless starts is six, from July 3-Aug. 1, 2002, and March 31-April 27, 2003, according to STATS.
MARINERS 4, RANGERS 3, 13 INNINGS
SEATTLE — Jason Bay hit a two-out RBI single in the 13th inning, lifting the Mariners to a victory over Texas that snapped an eight-game skid.
Bay came through after he was robbed of a game-winning homer in the 11, when David Murphy leaped above the fence in left-center field to catch Bay’s drive.
Raul Ibanez tied it at 3 earlier in the 11th with a home run. A.J. Pierzynski had given Texas a 3-2 lead in the top half with a pinch-hit RBI single off Oliver Perez.
Yoervis Medina (1-0) worked out a jam in the top of the 13th.
Michael Kirkman (0-1) was the loser.
WHITE SOX 5, MARLINS 3
CHICAGO — Dayan Viciedo and Alex Rios each threw out a runner at the plate, and the White Sox beat Alex Sanabia and Marlins to sweep their weekend series.
The White Sox have won five of six and nine of 12 to climb back to .500 for the first time since they were 4-4 on April 10. Dylan Axelrod (3-3) benefited from a two-run homer by Adam Dunn and a tiebreaking two-run double from Alejandro De Aza to pick up his third consecutive victory.
Sanabia (3-7) pitched into the seventh inning against the Phillies to end a personal five-game losing streak. But he was unable to sustain that success against Chicago (24-24).