It wasn’t the makeshift infield which featured Alex Avila at second, Starlin Castro at short, and Josh Harrison at third with Trea Turner and Jordy Mercer injured and unavailable, that cost the Nationals the series opener with the LA Dodgers in Washington, D.C., but Patrick Corbin’s hanging sliders, with two of them hit out of the yard, for a game-tying solo home run out to left by AJ Pollock, 2-2, and go-ahead grand slam by Max Muncy in the fifth that made it a 6-2 game in the vistor’s favor.
Heavy rain arrived over Nationals Park before the top of the sixth, and they never retook the field after going into a delay...
Corbin vs LA: Patrick Corbin gave up four of the five hits and two of the three runs he gave up in six innings on the mound against the Marlins last weekend in a rough first, but the left-hander settled in and retired 16 of the last 17 batters he faced, with Miami’s only hit after the first on a solo home run off the Nationals’ starter.
“He was really good after that first inning,” manager Davey Martinez said.
“He gave up a solo shot ... 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.”
Corbin was (2-2) in five June starts, with a 3.82 ERA, eight walks, 27 Ks, and a .222/.270/.368 line against in 30 2⁄3 IP.
Tonight he was facing a Dodgers club that put up six hits, three walks, and six earned runs on him in 4 1⁄3 IP in LA in the southpaw’s 2021 debut back in April.
Back in D.C. tonight, Corbin tossed a scoreless, 18-pitch first, working around a two-out hit, then retired the side in order in a 16-pitch second, getting a grounder back to the hill, and two to the makeshift left side of the Nationals’ infield, which featured Josh Harrison at third and Alex Avila at short in the shift (but starting at second base for the first time) with both Trea Turner and Jordy Mercer banged up in Wednesday’s game.
Chris Taylor and Justin Turner reached base in the first two at bats of the fourth, on a single by Taylor and an error on a fielder’s choice when Josh Harrison bobbled a ground ball off of Turner’s bat at third, and threw wide to Avila at second, pulling him off the bag, but Corbin got the first out of the inning on an unproductive Max Muncy fly to center, before Albert Pujols hit an RBI single through the right side to bring Taylor in and tie things up at 1-1.
Given a 2-1 lead to work with in the top of the fifth, Corbin came back out and gave up a game-tying home run to left by AJ Pollock, who hit an 0-1 slider into the first row of seats above the outfield wall, 2-2.
A single by Steven Souza and a one-out walk to Chris Taylor got some arms up out in the Nationals’ bullpen, a Justin Turner single to center loaded them up with one out, and Max Muncy hit an 0-1 slider way out to right for a grand slam and a 6-2 lead. Muncy’s 18th.
Cody Bellinger singled with two out on Corbin’s 97th and final pitch of the night...
Patrick Corbin’s Line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 Ks, 2 HRs, 97 P, 62 S, 6/6 GO/FO.
González vs D.C.: Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts made a last-minute-ish decision to go with an opener, with the weather a potential issue tonight in the nation’s capital, so left-hander Victor González got the nod instead of planned starter Tony Gonsolin.
González, 25, has made 33 appearances out of the bullpen this season, with a 2.10 ERA, 3.78 FIP, 14 walks, 24 Ks, and a .194/.318/.247 line against in 25 2⁄3 IP.
Kyle Schwarber took the first pitch the southpaw threw to left for an opposite field, leadoff double in the first, and he moved to third base on a Josh Harrison grounder before scoring on Juan Soto’s RBI line drive to center, 1-0. González got the second out of the inning on a Josh Bell pop to second base, but that was it for his outing...
Schwar-double?: One thing Kyle Schwarber, who’d homered 16 times in 19 games coming into the series opener with the Dodgers, hadn’t done over this ridiculous run he’s been on, is hit anything other than homers and singles, going 24 for 73 over that stretch, with eight singles in addition to the 16 dingers.
In fact, his last double was all the way back on May 21st against Baltimore.
But he led off the bottom of the first in tonight’s game with an opposite field double, and scored a run on a Juan Soto single to put a run on the board.
Bullpen Action: Phil Bickford came on for the Dodgers with Juan Soto on first after an RBI single, and struck Yan Gomes out to end the bottom of the first.
Tony Gonsolin, who was originally scheduled to start tonight, took over in the bottom of the second, and tossed two scoreless frames on 28 pitches once he came on, retiring six of the seven batters he faced, working around a walk.
Josh Bell singled off Gonsolin to start the right-hander’s third inning of work, however, moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored on an RBI single to center field by Starlin Castro, 2-1 Nats.
Alex Avila and Victor Robles took back-to-back walks from the Dodgers’ pitcher, but the right-hander retired Patrick Corbin to strand two and keep it a one-run game after four.
Andres Machado gave up a single after taking over for Corbin, but got the third out of the top of the fifth to strand two and keep it 6-2 in the Dodgers’ favor.
Garrett Cleavinger got the bottom of the fifth for the Dodgers, and walked Kyle Schwarber to start the frame, but erased the baserunner on a 4-3 DP off Josh Harrison’s bat, and got a groundout from Juan Soto for out No. 3 of a scoreless fifth.
In the top of the sixth they went in a rain delay...
Final Score (5): 6-2 Dodgers
Nationals now 40-39