Patrick Corbin retired the first twelve Miami Marlins’ hitters he faced this afternoon, before giving up a solo shot to center field by Starlin Castro to lead off the fifth. Corbin allowed a total of three runs in the top of the fifth inning, 3-2 Fish, but Corbin’s teammates picked him up with homers from Anthony Rendon, whose two-run blast in the bottom of the fifth made it 4-3 in the home team’s favor, Ryan Zimmerman, whose two-run shot in the sixth made it 6-3, and Yan Gomes, who followed up on Zim’s blast with a homer of his own making it 7-3 in what ended up a 9-3 victory.
The win was the Nationals’ third straight over the Marlins, and their 13th in 16 games against their NL East rivals this season, including 9 of 10 in Washington, D.C., and Miami’s third loss this weekend, was their 15th loss in a row on the road.
Corbin vs the Fish: Patrick Corbin was unbeaten over a 12-start stretch between June 19th and August 21st, going (5-0) with a 2.12 ERA, 22 walks, 90 strikeouts, and a .217/.273/.337 line against in 76 1⁄3 IP, but he took an L last time out before this afternoon’s game, in a 2-0 loss to the Baltimore Orioles in which he gave up two runs in the first and held the O’s off of the board through the next six innings.
This time out, he was facing the Miami Marlins for the third time this season, after going (2-0) with a 0.78 ERA, two walks, 21 Ks, and a .169/.190/.182 line against in 23 IP in two starts.
Corbin retired the first 12 batters he faced, striking out seven, with his 7th K of the day his 200th of the season, which gave the Nationals three pitchers with 200 or more Ks on the year, a franchise record (2005-present), making them, the Nats’ PR team noted, the first NL club since the 1969 Houston Astros (with Larry Dierker, Tom Griffin, and Don Wilson) to get three pitchers to 200 or more strikeouts in a season.
Starlin Castro broke Corbin’s streak of retired batters, however, hitting a leadoff homer out to center in Nationals Park to lead off the fifth, on a 3-1 fastball, to make it a 2-1 game in the home team’s favor.
*KSCHKSCH* "Over and out." -this baseball pic.twitter.com/ljFOU8J2Yw— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) September 1, 2019
The next two batters reached as well, on an infield single by Martin Prado and walk by Lewis Brinson, with Prado scoring on a hard-hit double to left by Austin Dean that tied things up at 2-2, and Brinson coming in on a sac fly to center by Bryan Holaday, 3-2 Fish.
It was 4-3 in the Nationals’ favor when Corbin came out for the sixth, with Anthony Rendon’s 32nd HR of 2019 putting the home team back on top, and the southpaw worked around two walks in a 22-pitch frame which left him at 95 total with the one-run lead intact.
Howie Kendrick doubled to start the sixth, and scored on a no-doubter of a two-run home run to left by Ryan Zimmerman, who returned from the IL with a blast, and Yan Gomes hit one too, following Zim with a solo shot that made it 7-3 Nationals.
Patrick Corbin, Back-to-Back Wicked Sliders. pic.twitter.com/FTiImARyht— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 1, 2019
Patrick Corbin’s Line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 8 Ks, 1 HR, 95 P, 63 S, 6/2 GO/FO.
Mr. Smith Goes To Washington: Caleb Smith held the Nationals to one run on five hits in six innings when he went up against Washington in mid-April, striking out eight of 22 batters, and walking no one.
Davey Martinez said after the 3-2 loss to the Marlins in that game, that his team had their chances against Miami’s right-hander.
“He was good,” Martinez said. “I bet you he threw 75% strikes, which — before we came in here, the key thing was to try to get him in the strike zone. Well, he was in the strike zone and pitched really well. We had opportunities. We left 10 runners on base.”
When they went up against the 28-year-old lefty again in late May, the Nationals knocked him out after three innings in which he gave up five hits, two walks, and five earned runs.
The key that time, the Nats skipper said, was getting to the strikes when he threw them.
“Get him out over the plate and get him up. That’s what they talked about, and they were able to do that. We laid off some pretty pitches down in the zone and we were able to get them up a little bit.”
Smith fell behind early in the series finale in Nationals Park this afternoon, with Juan Soto doubling to start the bottom of the second, moving up on a groundout, and scoring on a two-out error to put the home team up 1-0 after two.
Smith hit Victor Robles with two out in the third, and Robles stole second (SB No. 24), took third on a throwing error on the play, and scored — (after a walk by Anthony Rendon), on an RBI double to left by Juan Soto, 2-0.
Given a 3-2 lead to work with after four and a half, Smith surrendered a one-out single by Trea Turner, and a two-out, two-run home run to left-center by Anthony Rendon who hit home run No. 32 of 2019 on a first-pitch changeup, 4-3 Nationals.
Ryan Zimmerman (#TKCHZ) and Yan Gomes hit back-to-back blasts off Smith later in the sixth, and he was lifted with one out in the inning, trailing 7-3.
Caleb Smith’s Line: 5.1 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 3 HRs, 89 P, 62 S, 4/6 GO/FO.
Rend-on-base & Victor ROBPles: Anthony Rendon didn’t waste any time on Saturday night, extending his on-base streak to 16-straight games with a home run the first time up, which left him 29 for 66 (.439/.500/.818) with seven doubles, six home runs, and eight walks in 76 plate appearances over the course of the streak.
Rendon walked with two out in the third, for a 17-game on-base streak, and his ninth walk in that stretch.
Victor Robles doubled the second time up on Saturday night, extending his on-base streak to 18-straight, over which the 22-year-old outfielder’s was 24 for 70 (.343/.405/.543) with a total of eight doubles, two home runs, and six walks in 79 PAs.
Robles reached the hard way in his second plate appearance, extending the streak with his third HBP in the last 19.
BULLPEN ACTION: Tyler Kinley took over for Miami in the bottom of the sixth, and got the last two outs of the Nationals’ half of the inning.
Wander Suero worked around a one-out single in a 15-pitch top of the seventh.
Tayron Guerrero gave up a one-out single by Anthony Rendon and a two-run home run to right on a 99 MPH 1-2 fastball to Juan Soto, whose 31st of 2019 made it a 9-3 Nats’ lead.
Javy Guerra retired the Marlins in order in the top of the eight, and after Jose Ureña scared the bejeezus out of some folks with his slightly wild high-90s heat, Sean Doolittle came on with a six-run lead in the ninth and retired the side in order. Ballgame.
Final Score: 9-3 Nationals
Nationals now 77-58