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Washington Nationals news & notes: Nats & Mets split four-game series; Patrick Corbin vs NYM + more...

Notes and quotes from the series finale with the Mets in Nationals Park...

FRONT PAGE - Corbin vs NYM:

Patrick Corbin gave up two of the three runs (two earned) he allowed in his start against San Francisco last time out before yesterday’s outing, in the first inning, then he held the Giants to a run on six hits over the next five innings in a 4-1 loss on the road in Oracle Park.

“The first inning ... he settled down after that and he threw the ball really well,” Washington Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez said when the skipper spoke after the game.

“You go out there and try to go as deep as you can every day,” Corbin said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, after the lefty lost for the third time in his previous five starts (though he’s posted a 3.56 ERA, 3.92 FIP, .244/.262/.390 line against in 30 13 IP in those outings).

“Make quality pitches, throw strikes and just try to continue that,” Corbin said of his own approach in the outing.

Going up against the New York Mets for the first time this season in the Nationals’ series finale with their NL East rivals in D.C., Corbin worked around a leadoff single in a 12-pitch first, and took the mound in the second with a 1-0 lead, but it didn’t last.

Starling Marte singled to start the second, stole second base, took third base on a throwing error by catcher, Keibert Ruiz, then scored on an RBI single to right field by Jeff McNeil, 1-1.

Ruiz made up for the error later in the inning, back-picking Mets’ catcher Francisco Álvarez at first base after the Mets loaded the bases with two down.

• Davey Martinez in his post game: “I’ll say the biggest play of the game was the back-pick, bases loaded, [and] Keibert and Dom with the back-pick stopped a big inning for us, then we came out swinging the bats.”

An 11-pitch, 1-2-3 third left Corbin at 45 pitches overall, and the lefty worked around a one-out single in the top of the fourth, completing four on 64 pitches, and he came out for the top of the fifth up 5-1 and retired the Mets in order in a 10-pitch frame.

Francisco Lindor doubled, took third on a single by Pete Alonso, and scored on a sac fly by Tommy Pham for the Mets’ second run off the Nats’ lefty, 6-2.

Corbin got a visit from pitching coach Jim Hickey after a two-out error put runners on first and third, before a line drive to left field by Jeff McNeil ended the threat, a 23-pitch frame, which left the starter at 97 pitches total.

Patrick Corbin’s Line: 6.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 97 P, 61 S, 7/6 GO/FO.

Corbin generated just five swinging strikes overall in the outing, though he collected a total of 21 called strikes, 14 with his sinker, and his manager said he liked the way the southpaw’s changeup is working for him.

New York Mets v Washington Nationals Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images

“He’s attacking the strike zone,” Martinez said after the Nats’ 10-3 win.

“What I like too,” he added, “he’s using his changeups very effectively, and I think it’s helping him, because now they can’t just sit on the balls in, so it’s helping his slider, it’s helping his fastball, when he throws it in, his two-seamer, so that’s another weapon that he has that they have to be aware of.”

Corbin said he was happy to give the team a solid outing.

“I think it’s our job as a starter to take the ball every fifth day and try to go as deep as you can and try to save the bullpen,” he explained, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.

“You always like getting through six. You try to pitch till you can’t. Hopefully, I’ll continue to do that and try to pitch as deep as I can.”


• Going into today’s series finale with the Mets in Nationals Park, Lane Thomas had reached safely in eleven straight games, hitting safely in 9 of the 11, as the Nats noted in their notes for the game.

“Thomas is hitting .311 (14-for-45) with a triple, three [home runs], seven RBI[s], two walks, one hit by pitch, two stolen bases, and eight runs scored during this streak.”

Thomas made it 12-straight games getting on, and 10 of 12 with a hit, a double on the very first pitch Mets’ starter David Peterson threw, a sinker up in the zone Thomas lined to left field for his 5th two-base hit of the year. Luis García’s fly to center moved Thomas to third, and he scored on a double to left by Joey Meneses, 1-0.

New York Mets v Washington Nationals Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images

• Thomas and García hit back-to-back, one-out singles off Peterson in the home-half of the third, and Meneses followed with his second RBI double of the game, driving Thomas in to put the team back on top after the Mets had rallied to tie it, 2-1. García scored on a sac fly by Keibert Ruiz, 3-1.

• CJ Abrams grounded into a force with runners on second and third and one out in the fourth, moving Dom Smith over to third on the play, and the speedy shortstop broke for second base in the next at-bat, and the Mets threw through, but a throwing error by the catcher, Francisco Álvarez, allowed Smith to trot home for a 4-1 lead.

Abrams scored on two-out RBI single through the wide open left side of the infield to bring Abrams in from third, 5-1.

• Dom Smith drove Keibert Ruiz in with a two-out RBI single in the Nats’ fifth, 6-1.

• Abrams homered off Mets’ reliever Tommy Hunter in the bottom of the sixth, taking an 88 MPH first-pitch cutter for a ride into the second deck in right, 404 ft. from home for his 4th home run of the season. 105.4 MPH exit velo. Sheesh. Sneaky pop. 7-2 Nats.

Lane Thomas doubled and scored on an RBI single by Joey Meneses later in the inning, 8-2.

The hit left Meneses 3 for 4 with two doubles and three RBIs.

• Jeimer Candelario tripled on a ball Mets’ outfielder Starlin Marte lost in the sun out in right-center, then scored on a sac fly by Dom Smith to make it 9-2 after seven in D.C.

• Meneses hit his third double of the game in the bottom of the eighth, driving in the Nats’ 10th run of the game, 10-2, and 4 for 5, 3 2B, 3 RBIs for the slugger.

Meneses’s manager said after the win he likes what he’s seeing from his DH over the last few weeks as he’s started to heat up.

“He’s working really hard on getting his foot down, getting ready on time, being a little bit earlier, hitting the ball out front a lot better,” Martinez said.

“So, he’s not getting beat as often. That’s a great sign. Today, he squared some balls up ... and he was able to pull the ball a little bit better.”

BACK PAGE - Dickerson Returns:

Corey Dickerson landed on the IL with a calf strain back on April 2nd, and before the fourth game of four with the Mets in D.C., he came off the IL, reinstated after a brief, 3-game stint at Triple-A Rochester. Dickerson played in just two games early this season before suffering the injury, but Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said he’s seen the outfielder play for years and knows what he can bring to the lineup when healthy.

“He’s one of those guys, man — what I’ve known of him, he’s such a streaky hitter,” Martinez said, “... that he can go on a roll, can hit in the middle of our lineup, or even the top of the lineup. But he’s a guy that I’ve seen him work unbelievable at-bats, 10, 12-pitch at-bats, and then rocket a ball to left field, and also has a little juice. Right now, having his bat against right-handed pitching is really nice.”

The plan for now, with the 33-year-old outfielder, is to work him in slowly, and get him back up to speed.

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images

“I told him today be ready to come in off the bench, pinch hit, and then we’ll see. We’ll get him in against some right-handed pitching at first, and then we’ll go from there. I think we have lefty today, lefty tomorrow [Miami’s Jesús Luzardo] — I know we have a lefty today.

“We have a lefty tomorrow, and then [Marlins’ starter Edward] Cabrera on Wednesday.”

For now, Martinez explained, Stone Garrett will continue to play left against right-handers, with Alex Call out in center until Victor Robles (back) returns from the IL.

To make room on the roster for Dickerson’s return, the Nationals sent Jake Alu back to AAA, after the 2019 24th Round draft pick played three games, going 1 for 11.

Alu, when he made his debut, became, “the lowest drafted position player to make his MLB debut with the Nationals in team history (2005-pres.).”

“Jake’s going to be fine,” Martinez said after the moves were announced, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman. “He plays with a lot of energy, a lot of heart.

“I told him: ‘You got your feet wet. Go down there and knock the door down.

“‘Be a professional, what we’re looking for. Take reps everywhere. … Get ready for your next stint up here.’”