Arizona’s Micah Owings couldn’t have asked for a better major league debut.
Now, the 24-year-old right-hander will look to lead the Diamondbacks to their seventh straight victory Wednesday when they wrap up their three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds at Chase Field.
Owings (1-0, 0.00 ERA) made his first big-league start on Friday and allowed just one hit in five shutout innings in a 7-1 win in Washington.
“If you watched him play out there tonight, you would have no idea it was his first time pitching in the big leagues,” teammate Chris Young said. “He looked like he was comfortable and belongs.”
Owings—who wasn’t on the team’s 40-man roster in spring training—hit two batters and walked three, but won his 13th straight decision overall after going 6-2 for Double-A Tennessee and 10-0 for Triple-A Tuscon last season.
“I wasn’t as sharp as I would like to be,” said Owings, who threw 96 pitches, “but there is always room to work, right?”
The 24-year-old right-hander did plenty to impress manager Bob Melvin, who will have to drop either Owings or Edgar Gonzalez from the rotation when Randy Johnson returns from the disabled list. Johnson, who is recovering from back surgery, could be back as soon as next week.
“Once the game started and he threw a few pitches, he couldn’t even tell you where he is,” Melvin said. “All he knows he’s on a baseball field, doing what he does best.”
Despite a roster full of young players like Owings, the Diamondbacks (7-2) have the most wins in the majors and lead the NL West. Chad Tracy and Chris Snyder each homered for Arizona in Tuesday’s 11-inning, 5-4 win over the Reds.
“It’s a young team, but a very talented team,” said Scott Hairston, who hit the game-winning double. “I think the state of Arizona is going to start believing in us more.”
Arizona, which swept four games in Washington coming into this series, has rallied to defeat Cincinnati in the two victories.
“We’ve gotten off to a good start,” Melvin said. “It’s a small sampling. We’ve proved nothing. What we have to do is keep going out there and expecting to win every game and keep the energy and the intensity up.”
Josh Hamilton, Brandon Phillips and Adam Dunn each homered for the Reds (4-4), who have dropped three straight. It was the first big-league hit for Hamilton, who was out of baseball for three years as he struggled with cocaine addiction.
Dunn has an NL-best four homers and is hitting 10-for-30 this season.
Starter Matt Belisle (1-0, 1.50) will look to help the Reds avoid the series sweep. He looked strong in his season debut, allowing one run in six innings of Friday’s 6-1 win over Pittsburgh.
Belisle has been used primarily as a reliever in previous seasons, but earned a spot in the rotation and retired 14 straight at one point in his eighth career start. He has not allowed a hit in 3 1-3 innings spanning three career relief appearances against the Diamondbacks.
Cincinnati has not been swept in a three-game series by Arizona since June 20-22, 2003.