“We had some opportunities with guys on base, we hit the ball hard though, we lined out a few times, we just couldn’t get that big hit with guys on base.” - Davey Martinez last night
Davey Martinez’s club went down in order in the first this afternoon, in the series finale with the Pittsburgh Pirates in PNC Park, but the 4-6 club loaded the bases with one out against Bucs’ left-hander José Quintana in the second, and Riley Adams, in just his third start in 11 games this season, and his seventh plate appearance of 2022, singled to left on a 1-1 curve from Quintana to make it a 1-0 game early.
Victor Robles, who stepped to the plate 0 for 18 early this season, fouled one off, then spit on three straight changeups out of the zone before lining a sinker over the middle through the left side of the infield for a two-run single and a 3-0 lead. 1 for 19 never felt so good.
Remember how awful the Nationals were with the bases loaded last season (.198 AVG, .553 OPS)? Well, they're 7-for-12 so far this season.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) April 17, 2022
Corbin vs the Bucs:
Patrick Corbin showed positive signs in his first outing of the season back on Opening Day in D.C., but the second time out in Atlanta, he looked more like the starter who struggled in each of the last two seasons, after a solid start to his 6-year deal with the Nationals in 2019.
Corbin’s manager talked after he gave up nine hits, three walks, and six earned runs in 2 2⁄3 innings pitched on the road against the Braves earlier this week about getting him back to where he was for the season opener.
“The first start was really good for the first four innings,” Martinez said, before Corbin gave up two hits, a walk, and the two runs he allowed on the day in the fifth and was lifted.
“So we got to get him back to that and not try to — for me it was more from trying to miss bats, just we got to get him back in the zone and get the ball down, down and away, the slider’s got to be more for strikes, strikes to balls, than balls out of the hand. So we’ll work on that this week and hopefully in five days he comes back and gives us five, six innings.”
Corbin got through a quick, 8-pitch, 1-2-3 first, but there was trouble in the second, when Yoshi Tsutsugo singled to start the frame and then took third on a pair of errors by Maikel Franco, who bobbled a grounder to third base while thinking double play, then sailed the throw to first base as well.
With runners on first and third, and no one out, however, Corbin struck out Ben Gamel, with an 0-2 fastball, and induced a grounder to short with a first-pitch sinker to Roberto Pérez to start an inning-ending 6-4-3 DP.
After a 17-pitch fourth, in which he worked around a 2-out walk (with help from a diving play by Maikel Franco at third on a grounder to his backhand), Corbin stranded a leadoff single in what ended up a 20-pitch fifth which left him at 70 pitches total in five scoreless frames.
Corbin picked Jake Marisnick off after he’d reached on an error (Franco again) to start the Pirates’ half of the sixth, but a walk (to Daniel Vogelbach), single (by Michael Chavis) and a second walk (this one to Yoshi Tsutsugo) loaded the bases, and ended the starter’s outing after 92 total pitches on the day...
Patrick Corbin’s Line: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 Ks, 92 P, 54 S, 7/3 GO/FO.
Pirates’ starter José Quintana gave up three runs in the top of the second, then stranded two in the third, after Nelson Cruz (single) and Josh Bell (walk) reached base to start the frame, and the veteran left-hander retired six in a row after that, before another walk, (to Juan Soto), ended his outing.
Jose Quintana’s Line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 Ks, 85 P, 46 S, 5/4 GO/FO.
Wil Crowe, the one-time Nationals’ prospect dealt to the Bucs in the Josh Bell trade, took over on the mound and erased the runner he inherited (Soto) on a 5-4-3 DP off of Nelson Cruz’s bat, and stranded Bell, after a 2-out single, to keep it a 3-0 game in the Nats’ favor.
Crowe worked around a hit-by-pitch and a walk in the top of the sixth.
Victor Arano inherited a bases-loaded, 1-out jam from Patrick Corbin in the bottom of the sixth, and got a grounder to third base for a potential inning-ending double play, but they only got the force at second as one run scored, 3-1, and Ben Gamel hit a two-out single to left field to bring in another and make it a one-run game, 3-2 Nationals after six.
Crowe gave up a two-out single by Josh Bell in the seventh, which ended his outing, and Heath Hembree took over on the mound and gave up a double to right by Maikel Franco, but Bell tried to score from first on the play and got thrown out at home on a perfect relay from Ben Gamel in left to Diego Castillo at short, and on to catcher Roberto Pérez. Still 3-2.
Steve Cishek gave up back-to-back singles (by Cole Tucker and Jason VanMeter) in the first two at-bats of the Pirates’ seventh, and an intentional walk (to Dan Vogelbach), after a sac bunt, loaded the bases, before a wild pitch brought in the tying run, 3-3. Michael Chavis connected for the third hit in the next at-bat, putting the home team ahead for the first time today, 4-3. That was it for Cishek.
Sean Doolittle took over on the mound and got what looked like an inning-ending 4-6-3 DP on the first pitch he threw, but it was overruled upon review, and Vogelbach scored on the play to make it a 5-3 Pirates’ lead.
Hembree walked Riley Adams with two out in the top of the eighth, and Davey Martinez kept Victor Robles in against the righty, after teasing a Yadiel Hernández pinch hit. Robles (1 for 2 on the day to that point), K’d looking at a slider outside that was called strike three, a couple pitches after home plate umpire Ed Hickox called another pitch in the same spot strike two (Nos. 2 & 5)...
Andres Machado kept it close with a scoreless bottom of the eighth, but Pirates’ righty David Bednar worked around a one-out walk to Juan Soto to end the series finale...
Final Score: 5-3 Pirates
Nationals now 4-7