It's a sweep: D'backs alone in first place
PHOENIX — A year ago, it took the Arizona Diamondbacks 22 tries, until May 16, to win six home games.
This year they did it in the first week of the season.
Patrick Corbin threw six scoreless innings, Chris Owings homered and had three hits and the Diamondbacks completed a three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians with a 3-2 victory Sunday.
The win improved the Diamondbacks to 6-1, matching the best seven-game start in franchise history, set in 2000.
Arizona went 3-1 against San Francisco in the season-opening series before sweeping the reigning AL champs.
“We had two quality teams come in here and we won a lot of games,” first-year manager Torey Lovullo said, “and that should speak for itself.”
Cleveland’s Corey Kluber (0-1) scattered eight hits in six innings, allowing three runs, two earned. Kluber said he felt some tightness in his back but nothing serious, and he said it was a better performance than he had in the season opener in Texas, even if the outcome wasn’t.
Indians manager Terry Francona said he didn’t think being swept means a whole lot this early in the season.
“I know it is really early in the year but we feel like we have been away from home a really long time,” he said. “We will just go back home tomorrow and get the Central going and go play some ball games.”
Corbin (1-1) had the only Arizona loss in the season-opening homestand. He gave up four hits, struck out three and walked two on Sunday.
“To sweep them, I mean, they’re a very good team,” Corbin said. “We know how talented they are, and to do that is pretty special.”
The Indians’ loaded lineup managed just seven runs in the series, and both their runs Sunday were unearned.
Fernando Rodney earned his second save in a dramatic ninth. With Cleveland down 3-1, Yan Gomes reached on third baseman Jake Lamb’s throwing error and scored on Abraham Almonte’s one-out single. Carlos Santana nearly gave Cleveland the lead when he flew out to the wall in front of the swimming pool in right field.
Rodney fanned Francisco Lindor to end the game.
Corbin retired the first seven batters before Austin Jackson’s one-out double into the right field corner in the third.
Arizona broke through with three consecutive two-out singles in the fourth.
David Descalso slapped an opposite-field hit between third and short to bring home Jake Lamb for the first run. Owings tried to steal third and scored when catcher Gomes threw the ball into left field to make it 2-0.
Owings’ first homer of the season, on Kluber’s 0-2 pitch with one out in the sixth, boosted the Diamondbacks’ lead to 3 -0.
“We’re still laying that foundation,” Lovullo said. “You’ll probably hear me say it all year long. We’re not onto our second brick yet. We are still laying brick No. 1 of this foundation. We still have a long way to go.”
The Indians scored in a challenging seventh inning.
Yandy Diaz led off with a single off reliever Andrew Chafin and took second when Gomes walked. Jackson grounded to second baseman Brandon Drury for what looked to be a double play. Drury flipped the ball high to Owings, who threw wildly to first for an error. Francona challenged that Owings didn’t touch second and after a review, the call was changed, leaving runners at first and second and no outs.
Pinch-hitter Michael Martinez followed with a bunt and new reliever Archie Bradley threw a hard one-hopper to first, where Paul Goldschmidt gathered it in. But first base umpire John Trumpane ruled Goldschmidt was pulled off the bag. Lovullo challenged and the call was reversed.
In all, there were three challenges in the inning.
Indians: OF Michael Brantley had a scheduled day off as the Indians work to keep him fresh after he missed most of last season following shoulder surgery.
Indians: Cleveland plays its home opener Tuesday night against the Chicago White Sox with RHP Carlos Carrasco (1-0, 3.18 ERA) getting the start against RHP James Shields (1-0, 1.69 ERA).
Diamondbacks: Arizona opens a 10-game road trip, all against NL West foes, at San Francisco on Monday night. Taijuan Walker (1-0, 6.00 ERA) starts for the Diamondbacks against LHP Matt Moore (0-1, 5.06).