Starters Zach Davies and Patrick Corbin gave up three runs each, in five innings each, with both leaving the second of four between the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs this week in Wrigley Field early, with the score tied at 3-3, and this one was decided in the ‘pen, with Nats’ righty Will Harris giving up a leadoff walk and a one-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth to give the home team the lead in what ended up a 6-3 win.
Corbin vs the Cubs: Patrick Corbin held the Phillies to a run on five hits in seven innings of work on the mound in the nation’s capital last week, walking no one and striking out nine.
His manager, Davey Martinez, said afterwards it’s the best he’s seen the lefty this season in what’s been an up and down start to his third year with the Nationals.
‘I think he’s on the right track now,” Martinez told reporters.
“Earlier everybody started worrying about him, but I think now he’s got everything together and this is the Patrick Corbin that we’ve seen in the past.”
After going (0-3) with a 10.47 ERA and a .329/.427/.643 line against in four starts and 16 1⁄3 IP in April, Corbin was (2-0) with a 2.70 ERA and a .186/.227/.400 line against in 20 IP in May as he took the mound tonight in Wrigley Field.
Two inning-ending double plays, 6-4-3 and 4-6-3, erased one-out singles in each of the first two frames.
David Bote, on a grounder that bounced from foul territory back into fair territory as Starlin Castro went to grab it at third, and Nico Hoerner, on a grounder into the hole at short, got on with back-to-back singles in the first two at bats of the Cubs’ third, a sac bunt by starter Zach Davies moved both into scoring position, and Willson Contreras singled to right field to bring both in, 2-0.
It was a 2-2 tie when Corbin came back out for the bottom of the fifth. Nico Hoerner lined a leadoff single into the left-center gap, and the opposing pitcher bunted him over/gave up an out. Willson Contreras singled to center to send Hoerner over to third, and an infield hit by Kris Bryant put the Cubs back on top, 3-2.
Patrick Corbin’s Line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 87 P, 54 S, 8/0 GO/FO.
Davies vs the Nats: Going into tonight’s game, Cubs’ right-hander Zach Davies had a streak of five straight outings without a loss, over which he was (1-0) with Chicago 3-2 in his starts, over which the 28-year-old had a 3.38 ERA, 12 walks, 14 Ks, and a .286/.383/.429 line against in 24 IP.
Last time out before tonight, he gave up six hits and one run in 5 1⁄3 IP in Cleveland.
“I thought his last outing was probably a little bit better than this one, to be honest with you,” Cubs’ manager David Ross said, as quoted by Chicago Sun Times’ writer Russell Dorsey, pointing to the seven scoreless Davies threw in an outing against the Pirates.
“He had to work pretty hard but got some big-time ground balls there. But he was really efficient, soft contact all over the place. He only gave up one run. . . . He made some big pitches.”
Davies worked around two hits and walk for four scoreless on 58 pitches as the Cubs got out to a 2-0 lead, but the Nationals tied it up in the fifth, with Yan Gomes hit by a pitch in the first at bat, bunted over by Patrick Corbin and driven in by Trea Turner, whose two-out single got the visitors on the board, 2-1.
Juan Soto and Ryan Zimmerman hit back-to-back singles in the at bats that followed, with Zimmerman’s driving Turner in and tying it up at 2-2.
Given a 3-2 lead to work with after five innings, Davies gave up a 433 foot blast to center field on a 1-1 changeup that bled back into the zone for Starlin Castro, who crrrrrushed it and tied things up, 3-3. Castro also snapped an 0 for 20 stretch with the blast, his 2nd of 2021. Josh Harrison singled in the next at bat, and that was it for Davies...
Zach Davies’ Line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 77 P, 51 S, 8/1 GO/FO.
CastrO-for ends: Starlin Castro, as noted above, was up to 20 at bats without a hit before he hit a 1-1 changeup 433 feet to center in Wrigley Field in the sixth.
He started the game at 0 for 18, which, the Nationals noted, was the 3rd-longest hitless streak of his career, but he’d been hitting before that.
The hitless stretch followed an 11-game hit streak, over which the 31-year-old infielder was 17 for 40 (.425/.511/.525).
He picked a good time to break out of his slump, and hit his second home run of the year, which was his first since April 15th.
Bullpen Action: Righty Keegan Thompson came on for the Cubs with Josh Harrison on first, and a wild pitch moved the runner to second, but the hard-throwing reliever stranded the inherited baserunner and kept it tied at 3-3 after five and a half.
Will Harris walked the first batter he faced in the Cubbies’ half of the sixth, putting Matt Duffy on to start the bottom of the inning, and one out later David Bote hit an 0-1 cutter deep to center for a two-run blast and a 5-3 lead. Bote’s 3rd of the season. A single by reliever Keegan Thompson and a ROE on a Wilson Contreras’ grounder to short ended Harris’s outing.
Tanner Rainey took over with two on and two out and fell behind Kris Bryant, 3-0, before he got back into the count and got a fly to right for out No. 3 on a 97 MPH 3-2 fastball. Still 5-3 Cubs.
Thompson returned to the mound for the Cubs in the seventh and gave up a shift-beating double to left by Juan Soto, and a walk to Trea Turner in the first two at bats, so the Cubs went to righty Justin Steele, who stranded both of the runners he inherited.
Austin Voth tossed a scoreless, 16-pitch seventh to keep it a two-run game.
Righty Dan Winkler came on for the Cubs in the top of the eighth, and put two on with Josh Bell singling with two down before Winkler hit Victor Robles with a first-pitch fastball. Trea Turner stepped in with two on and two out, but send a broken-bat grounder back to the hill, still 5-3 Cubs.
Wander Suero came on for the Nationals in the eighth and gave up a leadoff shot to center by Ian Happ, 6-3.
Craig Kimbrel got the ninth for the Cubs. Ryan Zimmerman reached on a wild pitch/strike three, but was stranded.
Final Score: 6-3 Cubs
Nationals now 16-22