Let it be known that the Washington Nationals’ first real stinker of 2021 came on Saturday, April 10, when the Los Angeles Dodgers teed off on Patrick Corbin for six runs on six hits and three walks in a 9-3 cakewalk.
Corbin, brought back from the COVID Injured List on Saturday was hot out of the gate, but faded quickly, even after being staked to a 1-0 lead. Corbin retired the first three batters, including Justin Turner, who struck out on a change-up that left Turner with a look of disbelief.
But an inning later, it was Corbin in disbelief that he walked the bases loaded with nobody out — then was hammered with a two-run single by Zach McKinstry, and a three-run homer by Chris Taylor.
“He had one rough inning with the walks. But the ball was coming out“ said manager Davey Martinez afterward. “Right now the big thing is we have to try to get him stretched out, but he went five innings, threw 80 pitches, so I feel good about it.”
Corbin was more self critical, but still positive about his first start after going through COVID protocols.
“I don’t think I had my best stuff, was missing a little bit there,” he said. “I had those three walks in a row there, maybe being a little too fine, but for the situations and everything that we had to deal with, I feel alright.”
Turner chased Corbin in the fifth with an RBI double that made it 6-1 Dodgers, then went on to complete a 2-for-5 night. In two games against the Nats, Turner is 5-for-8, with 2 RBIs, a homer, and two doubles.
The Nationals had some success early against Dodgers’ starter Julio Urìas, with five hits the first time through the order. But they were not making hard contact, and none went for extra bases until the sixth, when Juan Soto cracked his first homer of the season, a solo shot to right.
Zimmerman, Jordy Mercer, and Yan Gomes all singled, with Gomes’ hit ending Urias’s night.
The Nats’ bullpen, sharp through the first four games, prevented further damage until rookie Sam Clay surrendered his first runs of the year after loading the bases with two out in the seventh. All three runners came when AJ Pollack drove a sinking liner to left off Kyle Finnegan. Andrew Stevenson tried for a diving catch but missed, and the three-run double made it 9-3.
The only further excitement on the night came from Soto’s second homer of the night and season, a laser shot to right field with Trea Turner aboard. Turner beat out what looked like a game-ending double play with Victor Robles on first, but the umpires ruled on replay review that Gavin Lux’s throw from second pulled Max Muncy off the bag.
Soto’s second blast came after he fouled a ball off his foot. Martinez said afterward that Soto has a slight bruise and should be OK.