Two of the National League's top pitchers through the early part of the season are set to square off, as the San Diego Padres and the Arizona Diamondbacks close out their three-game set on Sunday afternoon.
Journeyman right-hander Jason Marquis has been a pleasant surprise for the Padres, as he sits with a 6-2 record and a 3.27 ERA, and he's pitched especially well in recent weeks.
Marquis has won five consecutive starts, the first time he's accomplished that feat since 2007 as a member of the Chicago Cubs. He most recently took down St. Louis on May 20, allowing just one earned run in six innings of work.
"He's a guy that continues to make pitches when he needs to," San Diego manager Bud Black said of Marquis. "He knows how to navigate his way through a major league game. He gets on some nice rolls where he retires some hitters and makes it look easy."
Marquis' counterpart on Sunday will be Patrick Corbin, who's one of the few hurlers who've outperformed him of late. Corbin has also won five straight starts to climb to a perfect 7-0 with a minuscule ERA of 1.44.
Corbin's latest outing was the most dominant of his young career, pitching a complete game, three-hitter against Colorado on May 20, allowing one earned run while striking out 10.
The 23-year old southpaw became the first Diamondback lefty to start a season 7-0 since Randy Johnson in 2000. He also set a franchise record by recording his ninth straight start of at least six innings while allowing two runs or fewer.
Corbin dismissed the Padres on May 4, striking out seven in seven innings in an 8-1 victory.
San Diego managed to pull the weekend series even on Saturday night by coming away with a convincing 10-4 win.
The Padres trailed the Diamondbacks heading into the fourth inning, 4-2, but they exploded for a five-run fourth to pull ahead, and they distanced themselves from Arizona for good with two more runs in the fifth.
Everth Cabrera was 3-for-5 with a homer and career-high four RBI, and he also swiped his major league-leading 19th stolen base of the season. Kyle Blanks and Nick Hundley also registered multi-hit games, while Yonder Alonso drove in a pair of runs.
"He's locked in both offensively and defensively. He's playing loose and inspired," Black said of Cabrera.
Andrew Cashner (4-2) wasn't at his best - he surrendered nine hits and four earned runs in six innings - but he was good enough to earn the victory. The righty has now won three straight decisions.
The disappointing season for Wade Miley (3-4) continued, as he gave up seven earned runs in less than four innings of work, upping his ERA to 4.53 in the process.
"Just get after it again and move on," Miley said of his struggles.
Eric Chavez belted a two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning and later plated another runner with a sacrifice fly. Martin Prado and Gerardo Parra each had three hits, although neither managed an extra-base hit.
San Diego took two of three games versus Arizona at home from May 3-5 and have won 12 of the last 17 meetings.