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ATL@ARI: Collmenter hurls six shutout frames

PHOENIX -- Is it the funky delivery?

Is it that hitters are getting a look at him for the first time?

Or is Josh Collmenter just that good?

Whatever the answer, the D-backs are just happy to have the rookie right-hander in their rotation. Collmenter tossed another six scoreless innings to pick up his second win in as many starts, this one a 2-1 victory over the Braves on Thursday night at Chase Field.

"How about him?" D-backs center fielder Chris Young marveled. "He's something special."

Collmenter, a starter throughout his four-plus years in the Arizona system, was called up from Triple-A Reno on April 15 and made seven relief appearances before getting the start Saturday against the Dodgers.

In that game, he allowed two hits in six shutout innings while his offense managed just one hit in a 1-0 win.

This time, the D-backs backed him with twice as many runs and nine hits, while he allowed two hits and struck out one without allowing a walk.

"The last game was a little bizarre with the one hit, and tonight the guys came out and got a couple of runs off a tough pitcher, a guy who's been throwing well," Collmenter said, referring to Braves starter Jair Jurrjens. "And the bullpen was able to close it out once again."

Collmenter's 12 scoreless innings to begin his career as a starting pitcher set a franchise mark, surpassing Micah Owings' 11 in 2007.

"It's definitely surprising," Collmenter, a 15th-round Draft pick out of Central Michigan, said of his success so far. "You come up and you want to do well, you want to throw strikes and give your team a chance to win. Moving into the starting role, I think, has been back to my comfort zone a little bit. I feel good going through my routine -- it's how I've done it the last four years and it seems very natural."

What doesn't look natural is Collmenter's exaggerated over-the-top delivery, which is unique in all of baseball.

"I think the angle is very deceptive and I'm able to jam them a little bit and get it on their fists," Collmenter said.

Collmenter throws a fastball and a changeup, and his breaking ball is still a work in progress. He threw only a couple against the Dodgers and threw roughly four to six of them against the Braves. Just enough, he figured, to keep them honest.

While his stuff might not be overpowering, he's had success at every stop in the D-backs' system.

"You talk about a guy that's throwing 87 to 90 [mph], doing it like he's doing it, is pretty amazing," Young said. "What he does so well is locate. When he tries to go in, he goes in. When he's trying to go away, he goes away. Honestly, I can't even count on one hand the times he misses a spot throughout the game. He keeps his composure out there and he's a professional, and he's going to be great for quite a while."

Young got the D-backs on the board against Jurrjens, who lost for the first time in six decisions this year, with a two-out homer in the sixth.

"I've been scuffling at the plate a little bit, so I tried to be aggressive," Young said. "I feel like I haven't been aggressive on the right pitches, so I was just trying to lock in on a pitch that I could drive, and he gave me one with the first one."

Miguel Montero followed with a single and scored when Juan Miranda tripled off the overhang in center to put Arizona up, 2-0.

Miranda's shot missed being a homer by a foot or so, and umpires used instant replay to uphold their call.

That was all the offense Collmenter and four relievers needed to get the job done.

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson pinch-hit for Collmenter in the bottom of the sixth with runners on first and third, figuring that at 76 pitches, Collmenter was almost at his limit anyway.

"He kept them off-balance, managed the game very well," Gibson said. "How could he be better? He's done a great job. We couldn't ask for more, hopefully he keeps it going."

For those who think Collmenter's success is due simply to hitters being unfamiliar with his delivery, he is itching to face a team for the second time. That should come next week against the Rockies.

"That's what I'm looking forward to, just seeing what the reaction is the second time," he said. "A lot of times you can get away with things the first time, and the second time is when you're going to have to make sure you make pitches and not just rely on the deception and the uniqueness of your delivery to get outs. So I'm looking forward to that."

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