Masterful Corbin spins shutout against Marlins

Lefty goes 9 scoreless for 2nd time in career; Soto extends hit streak to 9; Gomes provides key knock

May 26th, 2019

WASHINGTON -- Soon after the Nationals’ wild series-opening win over the Miami Marlins on Friday, manager Dave Martinez conceded that it was hardly the way they drew it up. Few Nationals games this season have been.

Saturday, though, was an exception. Behind 's second career shutout, a clean game defensively and another multi-hit game from , the Nationals beat the Marlins, 5-0, at Nationals Park for their second consecutive win.

“The dugout was hopping all game, from the first pitch,” Martinez said. “They were yelling, screaming. And then Patrick goes out and does what he does. It seems like you get that flow and that energy as the game goes on, and you see what Patrick is doing and everybody feeds off that.”

Corbin had tremendous command, allowing four hits and one walk with five strikeouts. The lefty faced the minimum through five innings, thanks in part to a pair of inning-ending double plays in the first and second.

The Marlins didn’t put a runner in scoring position until Harold Ramirez doubled to lead off the eighth. Ramirez was eventually stranded at third.

“I felt good out there,” said Corbin, who threw a season-high 116 pitches, 70 for strikes. “Just made some good pitches over the course of the game. Defense was excellent tonight and [catcher] Yan [Gomes] laid down the right pitches. It just felt like we were on [the same] page the whole day. Credit to the defense -- turning some big double plays, some diving catches to keep my pitch count down and be able to go out there and finish the game.”

A night after the Nationals committed a season-high four errors, the defense was fully engaged. From second baseman Brian Dozier robbing Starlin Castro of a potential line drive up the middle leading off the fifth to Adam Eaton making a sliding catch along the right-field foul line to retire pinch-hitter Neil Walker with one on and one out in the sixth, the Nats limited any potential threats.

“They played really well,” said Martinez, who also praised shortstop Trea Turner for his first jump throw since returning from the IL. “Defense was good, the boys were engaged, the at-bats were good again, so let’s continue to play like we did today and keep piling up these wins.”

The biggest threat Corbin faced came in the eighth inning, when the Marlins had two on and none out. But he got shortstop Miguel Rojas to ground into a double play on the first pitch, before striking out catcher Bryan Holaday to escape the jam.

Corbin, who received a standing ovation after hitting for himself in the bottom of the eighth, convinced Martinez that he was good to go the distance.

“I felt strong enough to finish,” said Corbin, who threw his first complete game since April 17, 2018.

“He pleaded his case right away, and that’s something you want to see out of our guys,” said Gomes. “He wanted the ball. He wanted to stay in the game and he earned it, for sure.”

Corbin has now allowed one run or fewer in three of his past four starts. His most recent gem also provided the Nationals’ bullpen (and its Major League-worst 7.09 ERA) a welcome day off.

“Anytime a starter can go out there and save them or give them an extra day’s rest -- hopefully, they get their feet under them and come up tomorrow and if we need to use them, they’ll be fresh,” Corbin said.

The Nationals scored all five runs off Miami starter Sandy Alcantara in the fourth inning. Soto drove in Anthony Rendon with a single up the middle, and later scored himself on a fielder’s choice combined with Brian Anderson’s throwing error to home plate.

Two batters later, Gomes delivered a bases-clearing double down the first-base line to provide the Nationals with the 5-0 cushion.

Soto extended his hitting streak to nine games, during which he’s 17-for-34 (.500) with five doubles, two homers and 10 RBIs. Soto has multiple hits in six of the nine games.

Granted, it was only one game, but in a season in which few games have gone according to plan, the Nationals are hoping that this is the start of a positive stretch. On Sunday, for the fifth time this season, they will be seeking their first three-game winning streak of the year.

“To play a game like that -- clean, Patrick goes nine, everybody contributes, Gomes with a big hit -- it’s amazing,” said Martinez. “They all feel it and they’re all in there celebrating right now. It’s a lot of fun. Let’s come back and do it again.”