PHOENIX -- The 2015 season likely will in no way define Patrick Corbin's comeback from Tommy John surgery. The Diamondbacks have long said next season is when they expect to see the Corbin who was an All-Star two years ago.
Glimpses -- even brief ones -- this year fuel that thinking.
Corbin offered a few such looks since he returned last month and on Wednesday delivered another that was especially encouraging considering the opponent and his previous start.
The left-hander limited the Cardinals to three hits and one run in six innings. He did not fare in the decision, as the Cardinals got to the D-backs bullpen in a 3-1 victory at Chase Field.
Corbin struck out seven and walked two on the heels of giving up four runs on eight hits in two innings at Cincinnati six days earlier.
"That's been on my mind," Corbin said of his previous start. "Anytime you get back out there, to pitch deep in the ballgame was good."
Corbin's only mistake was a change-up he left up a bit and Mark Reynolds lined it into the left-field bleachers to tie the game at 1. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said had Corbin throw the pitch a little harder the result likely would have been different.
"He pitched a great game. He kept us in the game," Saltalamacchia said. "One of those outings where you wish you could have got him some run support and let him cruise."
Corbin had a couple of those outings, like when get limited the Brewers and Marines to one run each on back-to-back starts in late July or when he shut out the Braves for 6 2/3 inning on Aug. 15.
"He's has had real good ones, like tonight," manager Chip Hale said, "where there was good break on the breaking ball. He got a lot of swings and misses in the dirt. The fastball had life."
Corbin worked around his own throwing error in the second inning and got Jhonny Peralta to strand two runners with an inning-ending double play in the third. Reynolds' 11th home run was in the fifth but Corbin struck out the next two and set down five of the final six Cardinals he faced before he was lifted for a pinch hitter after 82 pitches.
"That was a good sign," Hale said of Corbin's overall performance. "Every outing is going to be different for him with the feel for his elbow. Tonight, he definitely was feeling it and had a successful outing."
A sign of what the D-backs hope is to come on a regular basis.
DID YOU NOTICE?
Paul Goldschmidt's solo home run in the first inning traveled 471 feet, according to MLB Statcast, which makes it the longest home run of his career. His previous longest, according to Home Run Tracker, was a 470-foot blast last season at Chase Field
6 -- The D-backs are 0-6 against the Cardinals this season, with one game to play.
The D-backs outhit the Cardinals for the second game in the series and made multiple loud outs. As Hale said, they hit well enough to win. But it wasn't in the cards.