Josh Collmenter carries the relief load in D-backs’ win

Jun 20, 2013, 12:15 AM | Updated: 12:24 am

Yes, Cody Ross will get the bulk of the credit for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 3-1 win over the Miami Marlins Wednesday afternoon at Chase Field.

There’s a good reason for that — the veteran outfielder came off the bench in the eighth inning and jacked a three-run homer off of Miami reliever Mike Dunn to supply all of the D-backs’ offense.

But once again, a great deal of credit needs to go to the unsung member of the D-backs’ pitching staff — Josh Collmenter.

Starter Trevor Cahill took a line drive off his right hip in the first inning and left the game after throwing three pitches to Derek Dietrich in the second inning. Collmenter got the early call from the bullpen once again, and once again the right-hander answered.

Collmenter allowed just one hit and one walk in six shutout innings of work.

“It was a great performance,” manager Kirk Gibson said about Collmenter’s steady relief. “He was really rolling there. He had the magic wand out there and got rolling.”

Collmenter allowed a two-out walk to Greg Dobbs in the second inning and then retired the next 13 batters he faced until Giancarlo Stanton led off the seventh inning with a single to left.

So what was Collmenter’s key to success Wednesday?

“I think the changeup was really effective,” he said. “They’re a team that’s really aggressive against the fastball, so we were trying to speed them up with the fastball and was able to locate the changeup down in the zone to get some swings and misses.

“Against a team that’s really aggressive, being able to speed them and slow them down and go back and forth like that really works out in my advantage since the changeup is my out pitch.”

The six-inning stint was the longest of the season for Collmenter and the third time he’s been called on to hurl four or more innings in a game. In those games, he’s allowed just nine hits and one earned run in 15 innings, while fanning 17 and walking three.

It’s not the easiest scenario for a pitcher — to go from being rested in the bullpen to on the mound for extended work due to a starter’s injury, but it’s a role Collmenter continues to thrive in.

“I think just the competitive nature,” he said when asked why he’s so effective in these situations. “You never want to go out and give up runs, sometimes you can hold your team in there, sometimes you’re preserving a lead and here, it was trying to save the bullpen.

“I joked with them and I told them ‘you guys just want me to eight’ and then (Joe Paterson) said ‘well, how about seven and two-thirds, and I’ll come in and face the lefties.’ I made a run at it.”

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