After they went almost a week without a win, the Arizona Diamondbacks suddenly can’t lose.
The NL West-leading Diamondbacks look for a fourth consecutive victory Friday night when they open a weekend series against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field.
Arizona (72-59) might credit a rare East Coast earthquake and the decision by manager Kirk Gibson to skip batting practice as reasons why it followed a season-high six-game skid with three straight wins over Washington. In doing so, the Diamondbacks salvaged a 4-6 trip and increased their lead to three games over San Francisco in the West.
“We could have folded,” Gibson said. “But I felt we hung together very well.”
After totaling seven runs during the skid, Gibson decided his team would arrive later to the ballpark and skip batting practice prior to Tuesday’s 2-0 win over the Nationals. That contest occurred hours after a magnitude 5.9 earthquake centered in Virginia was felt in the nation’s capital. The Diamondbacks went without batting practice for the rest of the series, including an 8-1 rout Thursday.
“We seemed to be recharged,” said Gibson, whose team scored half as many runs Thursday as in its previous nine contests combined. “The no BP has worked good for us. It got the guys off their feet, off the field. Their legs have come back, and we feel good going home.”
Gibson, however, may be chancing fate by announcing the team will take batting practice Friday before trying to match a season high with a seventh straight home.
“We’ll be on the field,” he said. “Three days is long enough.”
Chris Young and rookie Paul Goldschmidt(notes) each hit two-run homers Thursday and All-Star catcher Miguel Montero(notes) added three hits. Montero went 10 for 28 on the trip and is a similar 10 for 26 against the Padres in 2011.
After Arizona starters allowed two runs on a pair of solo homers in 21 2-3 innings over the last three games, rookie Josh Collmenter(notes) (7-8, 3.34 ERA) looks for another strong start and some run support Friday.
The right-hander is 1-1 with a 2.18 ERA in his last three outings, as the Diamondbacks have supported him with a total of six runs. He gave up a homer and three other hits in seven innings of a 1-0 loss at Atlanta on Sunday.
Collmenter is making his first start versus San Diego, but tossed 1 2-3 scoreless innings against the Padres on May 6.
San Diego (60-71) had won a season-high five straight before losing 2-1 at San Francisco on Wednesday.
The Padres have split their eight games with Arizona this season, including two at Chase Field. Leadoff man Will Venable(notes) has batted .316 (6 for 19) against the Diamondbacks this season, and is 7 for 21 with a homer and five RBIs in his last five games overall.
San Diego’s Wade LeBlanc(notes) (2-2, 4.62) will look for a third straight winning start. The left-hander has allowed exactly three runs in six of his seven starts and two in the other during a season spent shuttling between the majors and Triple-A Tucson. He gave up three runs, six hits and four walks in 5 1-3 innings of a 4-3 win over Florida last Friday.
LeBlanc is 1-1 with a 5.26 ERA in five career starts versus Arizona, but 0-1 with an 11.25 ERA in two at Chase Field.