Romp to open May 'a good sign' for Nats

May 1st, 2021

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals had been waiting for players to get into a rhythm and hit their stride after a delayed start to the season, one that began with nine players on the injured list for COVID-19 protocols.

The first game played in May was a glimpse of that.

“We're starting to see these guys really come around and doing the things that we know that they are capable of doing,” manager Dave Martinez said before the Nationals’ 7-2 win over the Marlins on Saturday afternoon at Nationals Park.

The Nats extended their winning streak to three games, improved to one game below .500 (11-12) and have tallied 41 hits in their past four contests while missing key players, including slugger Juan Soto and starter Stephen Strasburg.

“I think we’re going to continue to get better, continue to get stronger,” Saturday’s starter said. “This is just a good sign for us.”

After a roller-coaster April, Corbin locked in for seven innings. He allowed two runs off four hits, issued four walks and struck out four batters over 93 pitches (62 strikes). This outing was important to get back on track after Corbin exited his last start on Sunday after only four innings. Since then, the southpaw focused on repeating his delivery and staying in his legs for improved results. Martinez noted Corbin’s command of the strike zone.

“Hitters struggle, so do pitchers,” Martinez said. “They get in this little funk, and they’ve got to work some things out. You saw today that Patrick came out there and was really good.”

The Nationals’ offense broke the game open with a five-run fourth inning. , who entered the game batting .113, drove in four runs in a 2-for-4 afternoon. Like Corbin, Bell began the season on the injured list.

“We’re in a good place,” Bell said. “No matter who’s on the bump, no matter who’s in the lineup, it seems like we can score runs and keep runs off the board. It’s definitely a cool atmosphere showing up to work every day.”

Washington entered the game leading all of baseball in batting average on Saturdays (.355), and it has scored five-plus runs in all four games played on a Saturday this season.

“I’m proud of the way these guys went out and played,” Martinez said. “They stuck together, and they’re playing really hard every single day. It’s fun to watch them right now. We’re starting to win some games, we’re starting to get consistency. I really believe this team could really take off and win a lot of games.”

The Nationals will look to extend their winning streak to four games and sweep the series on Sunday afternoon with Max Scherzer (1-2, 3.00 ERA) on the mound.