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Washington Nationals’ Patrick Corbin on first-inning struggles, settling in vs Miami Marlins

Patrick Corbin put together a solid outing, but made a few mistakes that the Marlins capitalized on...

MLB: Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

After giving up four hits and two runs in the bottom of the first inning, Patrick Corbin retired 16 of the final 17 batters he faced in Saturday afternoon’s matchup with the Miami Marlins in loanDepot park, but the one batter the Washington Nationals’ starter didn’t retire in that run, Jon Berti, hit what ended up being the game-winner, a leadoff homer to right on a 2-0 sinker in the bottom of the fifth.

Corbin ended up going six innings, throwing 77 pitches, in a 3-2 loss to the Fish, striking out six without walking any batters, and generating eight ground ball outs on the day.

“He was really good after that first inning,” manager Davey Martinez said after the game.

“He gave up a solo shot to Berti, a ball out over the plate, but other than that he was really good. Really good. He settled down after the first inning and threw the ball really well.”

Patrick Corbin’s Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 Ks, 1 HR, 77 P, 55 S, 8/2 GO/FO.

Jazz Chisholm, Jr. tripled on the third pitch Corbin threw in the game, lining a 1-1 fastball up and in out to left field for an opposite field hit, before scoring on a grounder. Jesús Aguilar doubled on a 1-0 sinker down and away to the right-handed slugger, and scored on an RBI single by Miguel Rojas on a first-pitch fastball, in pretty much the same spot as the one to Aguilar.

“I thought the first hit of the game I didn’t get that two-seam in there,” Corbin said in a post game Zoom call with reporters. “Kind of wanted it in, off there, and I think that fastball in for the second run of the game there, in the first to Rojas, kind of came back over. So just those two pitches. Other than that I felt pretty good, I know the go-ahead run was that homer to right, but I mean, that was a great swing by him, if he can do that, I’ll tip my cap to him.”

“He came out and he made his pitches,” Martinez added. “His slider was good, he threw his fastballs where he needed to throw them, but his ball, his location was a lot better.”

Corbin generated 15 swinging strikes overall, nine with his slider, and got 11 called strike total in a solid outing, but the early mistakes, and the home run hurt him in the end.

“I know everybody keeps saying the first inning they’re scoring runs,” Corbin said, “but it’s — I made a couple bad pitches there, felt good, and kind of that was it. It stinks when — we put up a run there [in the top of the first], you want to go out there and put up the zero no matter what inning it is, but especially after we scored, so yeah, a little frustrating there, but there’s still a lot of game left, you try to put up as many zeroes as you can, but yeah, that was it.”

Was he too predictable, in trying to establish his fastball, and get early strikes, with two of the four hits in the first on first-pitch fastballs?

“I don’t know if they were located the best, but yeah, I’ve faced these guys quite a bit,” the left-hander said. “I know they’re really aggressive, they were aggressive throughout this series, they’ve been swinging. I feel if I can locate it a little bit better, maybe there’s a different outcome there, but I was just — the triple there to start was just a two-seamer that I didn’t get in there, and then like I said, that other fastball I tried throwing in there missed over the middle of the plate, but I know that they’re up there swinging, they’re trying to be aggressive.

“I was happy with my slider today, thought we did a good job with that today, as well as the changeup, I thought we used that quite a bit, got some strikes early in the at bats, and got them off that fastball a little bit as the game went on.”