Davey Martinez said before today’s game that he liked Josh Bell’s swings last night, and his career numbers against Adam Wainwright (7 for 23, .304/.393/.478, with a double and HR), so he gave Bell the start after running Ryan Zimmerman out there against Wainwright last week in St. Louis. Bell homered off the Cardinals’ veteran starter in the bottom of the sixth, 1-0, but Martinez went to the pen after six scoreless on 76 pitches from Patrick Corbin, and they gave up the lead in the top of the seventh, with a leadoff walk coming around to score the tying run on RBI triple before a sac fly put the visiting team on top, 2-1.
Trea Turner drove in one run with an opposite field single in the bottom of the eighth, tying it up at 2-2, and Yan Gomes took a bases-loaded, four-pitch walk later in the inning, making it 3-2 Nationals.
Corbin vs St. Louis: The results in his first two outings this season were ... not. good. Patrick Corbin gave up 12 hits, seven walks, and 16 runs (15 ER) in 6 1⁄3 IP, over which the opposition put up a combined .387/.525/.839 line against him in those outings.
“His mechanics look like they’re okay,” manager Davey Martinez said after Corbin gave up six of the hits he’s allowed so far this season and 10 of the runs (9 ER) in his start against Arizona’s Diamondbacks last time out before tonight.
“We’re just going to have to dig in a little deeper,” Martinez said of the planned between-starts work for the southpaw.
“I talked to him when I took him out to make sure that he was okay physically, said he feels good.”
Corbin put the work in between starts.
“He had a really good bullpen the other day. For us right now, it’s throwing strikes. He hasn’t thrown many strikes,” Martinez said before tonight’s game.
“We worked a lot on his mechanics, on balance, so hopefully he goes out there today and he’s able to throw strike one.”
Corbin got first pitch strikes on four of five batters in a scoreless, 15-pitch first, and two of four in the second as he worked around three hits for two scoreless frames.
[ed. note - “We stopped counting first-pitch strikes at this point.”]
Corbin retired 11-straight Cards’ hitters between Austin Dean’s one-out double in the top of the second and Tommy Edman’s leadoff single in the sixth, and he doubled Edman up on a 5-4-3 DP in the next AB, then got a fly to center field from Nolan Arenado to complete his sixth scoreless frame at just 76 pitches.
That was it for Corbin...
Patrick Corbin’s Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 Ks, 76 P, 52 S, 6/3 GO/FO.
Wainwright vs Washington: Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals’ 39-year-old, 16-year veteran, gave up seven hits, two walks, and four runs, (3 ER), when he faced the Nationals out in St. Louis last week, striking out seven in an 85-pitch effort in a 6-0 loss.
“I had great stuff today,” Wainwright told reporters after his third start of the season in that outing.
“They battled and fought off a lot of pitches. They worked me today. They have a lot of quality professional hitters over there.”
Facing the Nats again, this time in the nation’s capital, Wainwright tossed 5 1⁄3 scoreless on a total of 72 pitches, but No. 73, a first-pitch curve to Josh Bell, went out to right field for a solo home run and a 1-0 Nationals’ lead.
It was 2-1 Cards in the seventh when Wainwright returned to the mound and struck out the side in an 18-pitch frame which left him with 10 Ks on 100 pitches.
Adam Wainwright, 8th, 9th and 10th Ks. pic.twitter.com/uPDGey3GyN— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 21, 2021
Adam Wainwright’s Line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 Ks, 1 HR, 100 P, 62 S, 7/2 GO/FO.
Bell vs Wainwright: Ryan Zimmerman started at first base when the Nats faced veteran Cards’ starter Adam Wainwright in St. Louis last week.
Zimmerman was 12 for 34 (.353/.371/.676) in their head-to-head matchups over the years, with five doubles and two home runs off the right-hander. Zimmerman homered in that game, and went 1 for 5 that day, but this time around, Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez went with Josh Bell with Wainwright on the mound again, this time in the nation’s capital.
Bell was 7 for 23 (.304/.393/.478) with a double and a homer off Wainwright before tonight, and those numbers convinced Martinez to give him the shot against the right-hander, but he said he was tempted to give Zimmerman another start.
“Very tempting. The good news is that we can plop him in if something is happening anywhere. So, he’s had unbelievable success against Wainwright, but I looked at the numbers and Bell has hit him well too, and we really need to get Bell going and he needs to get his at bats. So, I was impressed with the way he hit the ball yesterday to left field, so that’s a good sign. We have to get him going.”
Bell struck out on a full count fastball with a runner on and two out in the first, was hit by a pitch the second time up in the third, then homered on a first-pitch curve from Wainwright in a one-out at bat in the sixth to make it 1-0 Nationals. Bell’s first of 2021. [Martinez points to head].
Mighty J-Hay Struck Out: It took him 31 plate appearances this season, but Josh Harrison finally struck out for the first time in 2021 in the bottom of the fifth inning tonight. Nats’ PR noted on Twitter that per @EliasSports, “... it was tied for the third longest streak to start a season in Nationals history (2005-pres.).”
1. Paul Lo Duca – 54 plate appearances – 3/30/2008 to 5/06/2008
2. Yunel Escobar – 33 plate appearances – 4/06/2015 to 4/14/2015
T3. Steve Lombardozzi – 30 plate appearances – 4/01/2013 to 4/23/2013
T3. Josh Harrison – 30 plate appearances – 4/12/2021 to 4/20/2021
Bullpen Action: Tanner Rainey took over for Patrick Corbin with a 1-0 lead in the seventh and walked the Cards’ leadoff man, Yadier Molina (in a 10-pitch at battle, and after Andrew Stevenson misjudged the part of the stands that juts out into foul territory in right and let a catchable pop fall in). Dylan Carlson followed with an RBI triple to center and it was tied at 1-1 in Nationals Park. Austin Dean followed one out later with a sac fly to left, 2-1 Cards.
Daniel Hudson retired the Cards in order in a 15-pitch top of the eighth.
Giovanny Gallegos took the mound with a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth and walked Andrew Stevenson to start the frame, then hit Josh Harrison in the front shoulder to put a second runner on. Trea Turner fell behind 0-2 in the next at bat, but shot a single through the right side to drive Stevenson in and tie it up, 2-2.
Josh Bell grounded out for the first out of the frame, and the Cards put Kyle Schwarber on to load them up. Cardinals’ skipper Mike Shildt went with a five-man, drawn-in infield with Starlin Castro up, and Gallegos got a backwards K with a 1-2 fastball for out No. 2 before a Yan Gomes’ four-pitch walk put the Nationals up, 3-2.
Brad Hand came on for the save situation in the ninth and gave up a one-out double to left-center by Yadier Molina, but stranded him at second two outs later. Ballgame.
Final Score: 3-2 Nationals
Nationals now 6-9