Patrick Corbin avoided up giving much of anything over the first five innings of his outing against Atlanta’s Braves in the series finale of the Washington Nationals’ four-game set in Truist Park on Thursday afternoon.
Corbin held the Nationals’ NL East rivals to a walk and two hits over five scoreless, which he completed on an efficient 53 pitches.
Things fell apart in the sixth, however, with a leadoff single by Ronald Acuña, Jr., and then three straight one-out hits that resulted in four runs, with Ozzie Albies driving Acuña in to make it 1-0 with a single before scoring on a double by Austin Riley, who came around on Dansby Swanson’s two-run home run to left, 4-0.
Patrick Corbin’s Line: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 79 P, 50 S, 7/3 GO/FO.
It ended up a 5-1 win for the home team, as the Nationals settled for a split on the road in Georgia.
“Patrick was really, really good early on, I mean, superb,” manager Davey Martinez said after his club’s hitters connected for just four hits overall on the day, going 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position and eight left on base, failing to support Corbin’s early efforts.
“We just needed to score a couple runs just to give [Corbin] some run support and it just [didn’t] happen.”
Martinez’s club did finally push a run across in the ninth, when two of the club’s four hits led to their only run, but it wasn’t enough.
Corbin held the Braves off the board through five, but he faltered when he went back out for the sixth.
“He was good,” Martinez said. “He went 0-2 to 3-2 with Acuña, and pretty good pitch, he put it in play, found a hole, and then he got the ball up a little bit there. The ball to Swanson was just a slider, 3-2 slider he just tried to get over the plate, but it was up and out over the plate and a bad spot. Swanson likes that ball out there. But man, I’m watching him and I’m thinking, for me, this is probably the best he’s thrown the ball. I mean, he had everything working today. It was sharp, his slider was good, he just made a couple mistakes that inning and we couldn’t get it back.”
“I thought it was good,” Corbin said of his outing overall when he spoke via Zoom after the game. “Obviously we were cruising there till the sixth, and I still felt good, thought I made some pitches, they got a couple hits there, I left a slider up there to Swanson or Dansby, but it was frustrating because I felt really good, and tried keeping us in the game there.
“Their team was throwing really well, so just I don’t know.”
Martinez’s club scored 19 runs on 30 hits in the first three games of the series, but the bats went silent in the series finale.
“The first three innings we were chasing a lot, you know,” Martinez said.
“Not getting the ball in the zone and just putting bad pitches in play. The ump was doing a good job, he didn’t call anything down, we’re trying to get the ball up, but they just started chasing, then we started settling down a little bit, working better at bats, but just nothing was there.”
Corbin also failed to help his own cause in one of the team’s best opportunities. Braves’ left-hander Tucker Davidson held the Nationals hitless through 4 1⁄3 before Jordy Mercer singled to right after a leadoff walk to Victor Robles. With two on and one out, Alex Avila went down swinging and Corbin fouled off a two-strike bunt attempt before Trea Turner grounded out.
“Could have got a couple guys in scoring position with Trea up there, it’s frustrating,” Corbin said of the failed attempt to move runners over. “Bunting — I don’t think it’s as easy as a lot of people think it is. We practice it all the time, it was a high pitch, but it was a sinker and I just kind of got too above the ball there on the last one there, and fouled it off, and I was ahead 2-0, kind of got in-between on a pitch there where I was thinking of slashing cause guys were coming down, Freddie [Freeman] was pushing in there, but yeah, it’s frustrating. You didn’t do your job there, and it just kind of stinks.”