WASHINGTON (AP) — Now this is what the Washington Nationals were looking for when they plunked down $140 million to add Patrick Corbin to the rotation.
Corbin took a one-hitter into the eighth inning to earn his first win with Washington, and the Nationals beat the punchless San Francisco Giants 4-2 Thursday in the deciding matchup of a three-game series.
Signed to a six-year contract in December after pitching for six seasons in Arizona, Corbin started three games without a decision with his new team. In this one, the Nationals staked him to an early lead that he easily made stand up.
“It feels great to get my first win here as a Nat,” the lefty said. “It seemed like every inning I was able to make pitches and get ahead of guys.”
Corbin (1-0) struck out nine, walked one and a hit a batter over 7 2/3 innings against a struggling San Francisco offense that came in with a .208 average. The lone hits against the 29-year-old were a fifth-inning double by Evan Longoria and a two-out RBI double by Erik Kratz in the eighth.
After Kratz broke up the shutout, Corbin exited to cheers from most of the 26,085 fans at the weekday afternoon game in the nation’s capital.
“I still felt strong at the end,” he said.
Kyle Barraclough entered and retired pinch-hitter Buster Posey. Sean Doolittle worked the ninth, giving up three hits and a run while earning his second save.
The Giants had problems with Corbin’s fastball and the strike zone of plate umpire Ryan Additon. San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy was tossed in the fifth inning and left fielder Brandon Belt was ejected in the seventh after he threw down his helmet in disgust over a called third strike.
“I probably said something. It wasn’t very nice,” Belt said.
For the Giants, it was an unfortunate case of subtraction by Additon.
“As big leaguers we make adjustments. He’s got to do the same thing,” Belt said. “We put too much into this game to have at-bats taken away. That’s a tough pill to swallow.”
Asked about the third strike that got him ousted, Belt said, “At no point was it a strike. That’s the tough thing.”
Bochy, who was ejected after arguing a fifth-inning called strike on Belt, said, “It was frustrating for some of those hitters. That zone was too big. Belt had no chance.”
There were a combined 23 strikeouts in the game, 12 of them called.
San Francisco starter Drew Pomeranz (0-2) gave up four runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out seven but walked three.
After the Giants went down in order to start the game, Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-out RBI double in the bottom half for a 1-0 lead. San Francisco is the only team in the majors that hasn’t scored in the first and is 6 for 63 (.095) in the inning.
In the third, Anthony Rendon extended his career-best hitting streak to 16 games with a two-out double and scored on a double by Juan Soto.
Wilmer Difo hit a solo shot in the fourth, and Pomeranz was lifted after issuing a bases-loaded walk in the fifth.
Giants: Tyler Austin started at first base after missing six games with inflammation in his right elbow. Asked if he was concerned about the elbow, Bochy replied, “To be honest, yes. That’s why he’s not in left field.”
Nationals: Victor Robles showed no ill effects after crashing into the wall Wednesday night chasing a HR by Gerardo Parra. “We checked on him last night. He was jumping around, actually, saying he was fine,” manager Dave Martinez said. … Martinez is looking for a proper balance for Doolittle, who has pitched in nine of Washington’s first 17 games. “You can’t burn him out right now. We have to make sure we’re careful with him so we have him in August and September.”
Martinez showed up to his pregame press conference wearing a hat that read, “ALL CAPS,” a show of support for the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals.
“I think they’re doing well. They’ve got their boxing gloves going right now,” Martinez said, punching the air with both fists. In a Game 3 loss to Carolina, Caps star Alex Overchkin got into a fight with rookie Andrei Svechnikov, who ended up in concussion protocol.
Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner (1-2, 3.12 ERA) helps San Francisco opens a three-game series in Pittsburgh on Friday night.
Nationals: RHP Anibal Sanchez (0-1, 4.86) returns to his roots in the opener of a three-game set in Miami on Friday. Sanchez began his career with the Marlins, going 44-45 in 133 games from 2006-11.