Patrick Corbin worked around four baserunners in two scoreless frames last night, but the double and three walks he gave up pushed him up to 50 pitches total after two, and his 57th offering of the night was an 0-1 slider up in the zone to Ozzie Albies that the Atlanta Braves’ second baseman hit out to center in SunTrust Park for a one-out solo home run in the bottom of the third, 1-0.
A double by Adam Duvall, error by Anthony Rendon on a Dansby Swanson grounder toward third, and a one-out sac fly by Tyler Flowers put the Braves up 2-0 on Corbin, and he was up to 81 pitches overall after a 14-pitch fourth.
Corbin walked three in the fifth, for a season-high six walks total on the night, but he struck Dansby Swanson out to end a 26-pitch frame that left him at 107 pitches...
Patrick Corbin’s Line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 6 BB, 9 Ks, 1 HR, 107 P, 63 S, 8/3 GO/FO.
The Braves added two runs in the bottom of the seventh, when Freddie Freeman singled off Wander Suero, and Josh Donaldson homered on a 1-2 curve up a little but off the plate and inside to make it a 4-0 game.
Ryan Zimmerman homered in the eighth, sending a three-run shot out to left, but the Nats dropped a 4-3 decision, leaving them with losses in the first two in a row in Atlanta and four of the last five overall.
“We battled back,” Davey Martinez told reporters after the one-run loss.
“Corbin, the pitch count was high, but he battled. He battled, kept us in the game. We wanted to keep it at 2-0, but just one pitch there hurt us and we come back, Zim with the big three-run homer, but this game is sometimes unforgiving, but like I said before, I’m proud of the boys for just constantly coming back, I mean we could have sat there 2-0, [Dallas] Keuchel’s pitching well and just toss in the towel, they don’t do it. They’re going to fight, they’re going to stay in the fight, and they’re going to keep playing, and this thing will turn around.
“We’ve got a good ballclub, it will turn around, we’ll start hitting again, start taking our walks again, start making the right pitches and this will turn around.”
“I felt good,” Corbin said, as quoted by MASN’s Byron Kerr.
“I mean obviously they are a great team over there, a deep lineup, they had some great at-bats and got my pitch count up. I was able to get out of some jams. The homer was just a slider that wasn’t very good. But I mean they’re a hot team, they’ve been playing pretty much the same way all season, and we know [we’re] chasing them. The last two days have been tough, we just have to get over this one and come back tomorrow.”
The loss left the Nationals 8.0 games back in the NL East with 22 to play this season, five of them against the division-leading Braves, but the best they can hope for now is a split with two left this weekend in Atlanta.
“Hey, you know what, just focus on tomorrow,” Martinez said, “that’s what we’re worried about, go 1-0 tomorrow and we’ll go from there.”
There have been plenty of missed opportunities in the first two games, and the losses in the first two seem like a missed opportunity as well, but the Nats’ skipper said he just wants the team to remain focused and keep fighting. Corbin agreed.
“I don’t know, obviously it’s not how we wanted it to go,” Corbin told reporters, as quoted by MLB.com writer Jamal Collier.
“We have two more games here. We’re still a confident group here. We know how hot that they have been, and we just [have] to come back tomorrow, and we will. We’ll get over this one and be ready to go.
We’re still in a good position to do stuff, so we still have the confidence to do something.”
“Just keep fighting,” Martinez said.
“We’re good. They know that, and we’re exciting, and they never feel like they’re out of it, so just keep fighting, we’ll start banging balls again, and this thing will turn around.”