Patrick Corbin wasn’t at his best in his last outing before Tuesday night’s start against the St. Louis Cardinals on the road in Busch Stadium, but he managed to hold the Minnesota Twins to three runs on nine hits in what ended up a 12-6 win in which he earned his 12th win of the 2019 campaign (12-7, 3.20 ERA, 3.41 FIP, 60 BB, 213 Ks, .225/.288/.369 line against in 185 2⁄3 IP).
“Patrick, once again, he battled and got through six innings for us and did a great job,” Davey Martinez told reporters after the third game of Washington’s three-game stay in Target Field.
Corbin was dealing early against the Cardinals last night in St. Louis, however, striking out five of the first eight batters he faced in two scoreless, and generating 10 swinging strikes with the first 13 sliders he threw.
Patrick Corbin, 10 Swings and Misses on Sliders...in 2 innings.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 18, 2019
Back-to-back singles by Miles Mikolas and Dexter Fowler started the bottom of the third, however, and both runners moved up on a bunt by Kolten Wong, before Paul Goldschmidt walked to load the bases. One out later, Paul DeJong was swinging 3-0 when he hit a grounder out to short for what should have been out No. 3 if Trea Turner hadn’t booted it, allowing the Cardinals’ first run to score, 1-1.
Corbin was up to nine Ks from 18 batters after he picked up two in the fourth, a half-inning after the Nationals took a 2-1 lead, and he stranded back-to-back, two-out walks in the top of the fifth, in a scoreless, 17-pitch frame that left him at 91 pitches overall on the night.
A one-out walk Tommy Edman and a single by Harrison Bader in the sixth put runners on the corners for the Cards, but Corbin got a swinging K for out No. 2, only to have a run score on the play when Yan Gomes sent a throw to second trying to get Bader, but threw behind the runner and had it get by the bag and roll into center, 3-2.
Corbin got out of the inning with the lead though...
Patrick Corbin’s Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 11 Ks, 110 P, 57 S, 7/1 GO/FO.
Corbin finished the night with 22 swinging strikes total, 17 on his slider, and 13 called strikes on the night in the 110-pitch effort which earned him his 13th win of the season, and his ERA was down to 3.10 at the end of the night, to go with a 3.35 FIP, 64 walks (3.01 BB/9), and 224 Ks (10.52 K/9).
With his 222nd K of the season, Corbin joined Nationals’ rotation mates Max Scherzer (222), and Stephen Strasburg (235) with 222+ strikeouts on the year, making the Nationals the first team in MLB history to have three starters record at least 222 strikeouts in one season.
“Obviously he had the good slider tonight,” Chip Hale told reporters after filling in for Davey Martinez for a second straight night, while the manager recovers from a health scare.
“He got a lot of swing and misses on the balls in the dirt, and I think they started to get a little bit on to that, and he started throwing the fastball in to get them off it. Again, he just— he has that — the inning where [he] gets some traffic out there, and tonight he bent a little bit but he didn’t break, so it was very impressive.”