Patrick Corbin was rolling. Corbin, 32, retired the first eight Philadelphia Phillies’ batters in last night’s game, and he got a grounder up the middle with his 38th pitch, but the ball hit the mound, skipped by Nationals’ second baseman César Hernández and into center, E:4, and Kyle Schwarber followed with a two-run home run, driving in the first two of the seven runs scored in the top of the third inning of the first game of the five-game, long-weekend series in Washington, D.C. last night.
Corbin ended up throwing 46 pitches in the third, giving up a double, walk, two RBI singles, a two-run double, a run on another error when Josh Bell threw by the covering pitcher on a grounder to first, and one last two-out single before he got out No. 3 of the top of the third.
He returned to the mound in the fourth, and gave up another home run by Schwarber, 8-1, and a runner he left on scored as well, after Andres Machado took over on the mound, 9-1, in what ended up a 10-1 win for the Phillies.
Patrick Corbin’s Line: 3.1 IP, 8 H, 9 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 Ks, 2 HRs, 84 P, 53 S, 8/0 GO/FO.
“I felt really good,” Corbin said after the game, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman. “And then I think I threw maybe  pitches in that inning, and kind of was just shot after that. ... I know the state of our bullpen, so obviously I wanted to try to get as deep as I could to try to save some of those arms, especially with the doubleheader coming up [today].”
“Patrick today didn’t deserve that,” manager Davey Martinez said after the Nats’ fifth loss in a row.
“I think Patrick deserves a little bit better than that,” he reiterated later in his post game press conference.
“He gave up seven unearned runs,  pitches later. He could have been out of the inning with like 11-12 pitches, but we got to start catching the ball, playing a little bit more heads-up baseball, we really do.”
The two-out error by Hernández started things rolling for the Phillies, and Corbin could not come back from the Schwarber home run.
“Patrick after that, he fell behind hitters, couldn’t put hitters away,” Martinez explained.
“The wheel fell off, and then he couldn’t really get back in that groove. But I thought he was throwing the ball really well today and then that happened.”
The fifth-year skipper pointed to the E:4, and a late throw by Luis García on a grounder to short off J.T. Realmuto’s bat later in the inning, with runners on first and third, as the key points where things fell apart for the Nationals.
The seventh run of the inning came on the third misplay and second official error of the inning when Josh Bell threw one away trying to connect with Corbin covering first base.
“The one play to César the ball was hit awfully hard,” Martinez said. “He tried to get the in-between hop when I thought he should have just played back. The ball was hit. The mental mistake for me was García not throwing the ball to second base on a slow-hopper. I looked at it, and he could have had an easy play at second and just get the out, the force out. And then after that Josh got a ball and just made a bad throw to Patrick, which, to me, it’s not a difficult play, but it’s harder than you think, especially when you’re right-handed and you’ve got to throw across your body like that, but it’s a play that should be made, I mean, he works on it consistently all the time, and I’ve seen him do it.”
It was all the more frustrating, because Corbin was rolling early. He was almost through the third on 11 pitches, as his manager said, then it went all pear-shaped.
“No, I mean, he made a pitch to Schwarber, who’s swinging the bat well, as we all know, and he got a pitch in the zone and he hit it hard. But then after that, then it kind of spiraled after, so he came back, he tried to battle, come back, but then everything was up in the zone and he started getting hit. Like I said, when you go out there and you’re anticipating throwing 11-12 pitches, and next thing you know you’re throwing , that’s tough. It’s hot, he’s got to go out there and try to grind, it was difficult.”