Phoenix, AZ – Josh Collmenter and four other pitchers filled in for scheduled starter Joe Saunders, pitching the Arizona Diamondbacks past the Chicago Cubs, 6-1, in the opener of a three-game series Friday night.
Saunders was scratched after he was unable to get loose in the bullpen before the game, leaving Collmenter little time to prepare for his first start since April.
The right-hander responded with four innings, giving up a run on three hits and three walks while striking out six.
Not bad for a guy who found out on his way to the bullpen that he might need to start warming up.
"I saw that Joe was trying to get it loose and that something was not right," said Collmenter. "As we came out to listen to the anthem and lineup, they told me I was going to go in, so I tried to get loose as quickly as possible. I stretched out and was ready to go and it didn't take too long."
Brad Ziegler (4-1) got the win after giving up two hits and fanning three in two innings while Craig Breslow, Bryan Shaw and David Hernandez finished the game.
Jason Kubel hit a two-run homer and Miguel Montero had a two-run triple for the Diamondbacks, who have won three of four.
Geovany Soto hit a leadoff homer in the fourth inning for the game's first run, but it was the only one the Cubs scored as they fell to 6-14 in June.
Jeff Samardzija (5-6) lost his third straight start and was charged with five runs on seven hits and two walks in five-plus innings. He struck out six.
Collmenter gave up just two singles before Soto drove his fifth homer of the season over the center field wall.
Justin Upton singled with one out in the bottom of the fourth and Kubel's ninth homer of the season, an opposite field shot to left, put Arizona ahead for good at 2-1.
"Kubel hit that 3-0 ball -- you're trying to get back in the count there and he put a pretty good swing on the ball there and got it up," said Samardzija. "I was fine with that. You have to go on from there and turn the page, just make some pitches and get the ball down in the zone."
Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said he was told right before the game that Saunders wasn't going to be able to pitch.
"His shoulder was kind of stiff and he just couldn't get loose," Gibson said.
Saunders called it "a fluke thing" and said: "Maybe I slept on it wrong, or something like that."
With Collmenter and the rest of the bullpen keeping the Cubs off the board, the Diamondbacks continued to score.
Aaron Hill singled home a run in the fifth and Montero chased Samardzija with his two-run triple in the sixth. Upton's RBI ground-rule double made it 6-1 in the seventh.
Hernandez got his first major league hit on a slapped opposite-field single in the eighth...The Diamondbacks are just 4-10 in the last 14 meetings with the Cubs. They are 3-1 on a six-game homestand...The Cubs were coming off taking two of three against the city rival White Sox.