HOUSTON -- After the D-backs allowed nine runs to the Astros in consecutive games, left-hander Patrick Corbin restored order Thursday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.
Corbin came within one out from throwing his first career complete game as the D-backs rode his strong pitching and a pair of homers -- including an inside-the-park one by Daniel Descalso -- to blank the Astros, 4-0, and split the four-game, home-and-home series.
"I just felt really good with all my pitches," Corbin said. "I just made quality pitches throughout the game. That's a quality team. You have to kind of lock it in. They made it tough in that first inning. I thought I made a couple of mistakes, but then I was able to settle in."
Corbin (10-11), who held the Cubs scoreless for 6 2/3 innings on Saturday, was sitting at 97 pitches through eight scoreless innings and recorded two quick groundouts in the ninth before Yuli Gurriel hit a double. Arizona manager Torey Lovullo pulled Corbin after 8 2/3 innings for Archie Bradley, who got the final out to complete the four-hit shutout.
"I felt like it was time to turn it over to the bullpen," Lovullo said. "He had over 100 pitches, but that wasn't the real reason -- I just didn't want it to run away from us. I felt like we had some really good arms down there in the bullpen who were going to end the game."
Houston manager A.J. Hinch said Corbin made the Astros chase with his slider.
"It's a good version of him," Hinch said. "He's tough when he can throw it for a strike and throw it for a ball. He had a pretty good fastball in for the our right-handers hitters. He had a really good game and I've seen him before really good, and I've also seen him spray the ball a little bit. He got us into swing mode quite a bit on a couple of at-bats."
Astros starter Mike Fiers (7-8) lost his fourth consecutive decision after giving up three runs (two earned) and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. Descalso's mad dash around the bases in the fourth put Arizona ahead, 2-0, and Jake Lamb tagged Fiers for a leadoff homer in the sixth. That was the 30th homer of the season allowed by Fiers, who's given up two in each of his last four starts.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Inside job: The D-backs hit their third inside-the-park homer of the season in the fourth inning when Descalso hit a ball off the wall in right-center that caromed back toward left field with center fielder Jake Marisnick in pursuit. Marisnick fumbled the ball as Descalso was being waved around third base, allowing him to score easily for a 2-0 lead. It's the first inside-the-park homer allowed by the Astros in more than five years.
"You don't want to call it a must win, but this is a good team, the type of team that we would face if we get into the playoffs, and they got us the last two nights," Descalso said. More >
Wall banger: The Astros put the first two runners on base in the sixth, setting the stage for the meat of their batting order. Alex Bregman sent a fly ball to deep left field -- 361 feet, according to Statcast™ -- that Chris Herrmann tracked down with a jumping catch at the wall, forcing Marisnick to retreat to second and George Springer back to first. Corbin then struck out Jose Altuve and Gurriel to strand them there.
"The one opportunity we had, I thought Bregman's ball was gone and was going to tie the game and put some energy back in the building, but their guy made a great play," Hinch said.
"I'd also like to play with 27 outs and not get at-bats taken away from us. You look at Marwin Gonzalez's last at-bat, there's plenty of pitches we could go back to and basically say he got the at-bat taken away from him. I've always said to worry about yourself, worry about your team and go compete the best you can, and then you walk out there and they don't have to throw strikes and get you out. It's ridiculous. I know we're not supposed to talk about the umpires. These guys are good men. But honestly, today, to have the 27th out be taken away and play with 26, it ain't fair. It's not right. Marwin gets to take a strikeout to end the game. We could have built an inning after that. I'm tired of that. I'm tired of our guys getting taken to task for knowing the strike zone. That's not the reason we lost today, not the reason we had a tough week, but it's garbage when you start getting at-bats taken away from you." -- Hinch
Hinch unsuccessfully challenged a call at third base in the fifth inning. J.D. Davis tried to advance to third on Max Stassi's groundout, but he was tagged out the final out of the frame. The replay umpire determined that the call stands.
WHAT'S NEXT D-backs:Zack Godley gets the start Friday at 5:10 p.m. MST as the D-backs open a three-game series against the Twins at Target Field. Godley is 2-1 with a 1.78 ERA over his last four starts.
Astros: Lefty Dallas Keuchel (10-2, 2.77 ERA) will try for his second quality start in a row when the Astros open a three-game series against the A's at 7:10 p.m. CT Friday at Minute Maid Park. Going 0-2 with a 10.50 ERA in his first three starts after missing eight weeks with neck discomfort, Keuchel held the Rangers to one run and six hits in 6 2/3 innings Sunday.