Patrick Corbin gave up just one hit, a double, through five scoreless innings on the mound in Citizens Bank Park last night, though he walked seven [s-e-v-e-n, se-ven!] batters.
Corbin managed to strand all of the baserunners, however, and was up to just 83 pitches in a 0-0 game between the Nationals and Phillies, after working out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the third and leaving the seventh free pass on in the home-half of the fifth.
Washington’s 34-year-old lefty got a run to work with when Joey Meneses and Keibert Ruiz singled in back-to-back at-bats to start the top of the sixth, knocking Philadelphia’s starter Aaron Nola out before Ildemaro Vargas doubled off reliever Matt Strahm to drive Meneses in, 1-0 Nationals, but that was it through six for the club which got no-hit in the third of four in Philly on Wednesday night.
Corbin returned to the mound in the sixth, but was replaced after whiffing on a ball thrown to the covering pitcher on a Bryson Stott grounder to first baseman Dom Smith.
Andres Machado took over with a man on and gave up a two-run home run by Trea Turner on the second pitch the right-handed reliever threw, 2-1 Phillies.
Nick Castellanos homered off lefty Joe La Sorsa in the seventh, after a leadoff walk, 4-1, and one out after a hit-by-pitch put a second runner on, J.T. Realmuto hit home run No. 2 of the inning, 6-1. It ended up a 6-2 game in the home team’s favor.
Manager Davey Martinez told reporters after the game he sent Corbin back out in the sixth to face the left-handed Stott, then they went with the matchup they wanted with Machado against Turner.
“Machado has been throwing the ball well, our bullpen has been throwing the ball well, it’s just when you face guys like Turner, you’ve got to execute pitches,” Martinez said. “That ball — he tried to go down and away, that ball was right down the middle. But, like I said, we had the matchup we were looking for.
“Patrick threw the ball well, kept us in the ballgame, he gave us five strong innings.”
“Obviously the walks stand out,” Corbin acknowledged when he spoke with reporters after the game. “It is a dangerous lineup. You don’t want to make any mistakes, so maybe just a little too fine on some pitches, and got into some bad counts, and just lucky to make some pitches to get out of damage, but yeah ... 1-9 they can hit it out of the ballpark, so you just know that coming in, especially with this ballpark, but just maybe try to make some better pitches, get ahead a little bit better, but overall, felt alright.”
The fact he put so many men on and didn’t give up an earned run surprised his manager.
“That was very surprising,” Martinez said, “and he’s facing a really good-hitting team that —you make one or two mistakes and you can be down — but like I said, he kept us in the ballgame and did well.”
The one hit he allowed was a double, but the Nationals’ starter kept the ball in the yard, against a team his manager said earlier in the series was built to hit home runs, and did later, but not off Corbin. How did he limit the SLG?
“I think if you walk seven guys you don’t give up as many hits, so that’s one way,” Corbin joked.
“But I don’t know. It’s just — I think that’s the most [walks] I’ve had in my career*, or at least feels like it, so just not ideal, you’re not trying to walk those guys with some of those guys in that lineup, but you try to stay on the corners, try to pitch to the edges, just was a little bit off today.
“To keep them in the ballpark today was I guess a positive, but just try to be a little more aggressive.”
[ed. note - “ * = it was a career high in walks for Corbin.”]
With three straight in Cincinnati and one win in Philly, Washington did finish the road trip 4-3, which was a minor victory.
“We had another above .500 road trip,” Martinez said, “... now we get a chance to go back home for a while, and let’s go 1-0 tomorrow.”