Patrick Corbin was in Arizona's rotation at the end of last season, a spot he is trying to keep.
Corbin had another effective start Sunday, pitching into the fifth inning as the Diamondbacks beat the San Diego Padres 8-6 in a game between split squads.
The left-hander allowed one run and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings. He struck out four and walked one.
Corbin got into some trouble by giving up nine singles, but he worked his way out of several jams with strikeouts and double plays.
"I felt my location was fine, and that I was a bit unlucky with some ground balls that found holes," he said. "We turned a couple double plays, which was key for the game and in preparation for the regular season. When you get in trouble you tend to feel the pressure and bear down a little more. I feel I'm comfortable in those situations, and it's good to come out of them clean."
Save for a four-run, one-inning relief appearance on March 6 against Kansas City, Corbin has pitched well this spring. In three starts and another three-inning outing, he has given up two runs.
Where that ranks Corbin compared to fellow starting candidate Tyler Skaggs isn't of concern right now. Corbin's confidence is high, especially after he logged 107 big league innings in 2012.
"The experience from last season was key," Corbin said. "Just facing big league hitters and proving to yourself and the organization that you can get them out is important. I feel like I've learned a lot since then, and I'm a much better pitcher than I was last year at this time."
Diamondbacks first baseman Kila Ka'aihue provided much of the offense, going 2 for 3 with a home run and four RBIs. Arizona designated hitter Didi Gregorious also had a good day, going 3 for 5 with two RBIs.
San Diego fought back to tie it with a five-run sixth that featured a two-run single by Jonathan Galvez, but Arizona surged ahead for good in the eighth.
The teams played before a sellout crowd of 10,826 in their visit to Tucson, which has a direct connection to both organizations. The Padres' Triple-A affiliate currently plays there, and it was the Diamondbacks' spring training home from 1998-2010.
This will be the last season Tucson remains the Padres' Triple-A home. The team will move to El Paso, Texas, next season.
The Padres enjoyed the fan enthusiasm, which was much stronger than a typical spring training game.
"It's always fun to play in front of a crowd like that," said Padres coach Pat Murphy, who will manage the Triple-A Tucson club this season. "We swung the bats well. I just wish we could've got some more timely hits and won this one."
NOTES: Padres 3B Chase Headley jammed his left thumb while sliding in the team's other split-squad game against the Los Angeles Angels. He was immediately removed from the game, and X-rays were negative. He's not expected to play Monday, but the injury is not considered serious. ... RHP Luke Gregerson rejoined the Padres after playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. ... The Padres reassigned RHPs Donn Roach and Brandon Kloess to minor league camp. ... The teams wore green caps for St. Patrick's Day. The bases also were painted green.