Patrick Corbin wanted to pitch one day after the death of his close friend. In doing so he honored Tyler Skaggs and lifted his Washington Nationals teammates.
Corbin pitched seven strong innings on an emotional night, Trea Turner doubled home the winning run in the ninth and the Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 3-2 on Tuesday.
“Yea, it’s been hard. I’ve just been thinking of Tyler, his wife Carli, his family. You can’t believe he’s gone,” an emotional Corbin said after the game.
Corbin and Skaggs were both drafted in 2009 by the Angels, traded to Arizona together in 2010 and made their MLB debuts in 2012 with the Diamondbacks.
Skaggs was one of Corbin’s groomsmen at his wedding in the offseason. Corbin wore Skaggs No. 45 rather than his own No. 46 and declined manager Dave Martinez’s offer to push back his start.
“I think when you have a loss you want to keep things as normal as you can. You just try to go out there and do what you have to do,” Corbin said. “I saw the Angels played today so, I don’t know, I think it’s best to go out there and play the game of baseball.”
Corbin did that and allowed a run on six hits and struck out seven without a walk, even coming back after a 76-minute rain delay in the third inning and leaving with a 2-1 lead.
With the scored tied 2-2, catcher Yan Gomes reached on an error by third baseman Neil Walker with one out in the ninth. With two outs, Turner doubled to the gap in right center on a 3-2 pitch off Jose Quijada (0-2) and Gomes raced all the way home.
Sean Doolittle (5-2) pitched one inning for the win.
Juan Soto hit a two-run homer in the first and added a triple for the Nationals, who have won six of seven.
Corbin gave up singles to the first three Marlins hitters but settled in, scattering three singles over his final six innings.
“Looked like early on we were going to be able to get to Corbin a little bit and then he kind of just slammed the door right there,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
It is the third straight game he has pitched seven innings and allowed one run with at least seven strikeouts.
“For me the first inning was going to be (his) toughest,” manager Dave Martinez said of Corbin. “Knowing him, I could see it a little bit in his face. Once he got through that inning, I thought he was going to be okay.”
The Marlins tied it off Wander Suero in the eighth when Cesar Puello led off with a double and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Miguel Rojas, who had three hits.
Miami starter Zac Gallon allowed two runs in two innings, leaving due to the rain delay.
Nationals 3B Anthony Rendon said he may skip the All-Star Game to let some injuries and ailments heal before the second half begins. Rendon, named to his first All-Star Game, declined to be specific. “I’ve been dealing with it for a while definitely a few weeks now,” he said. “I’m pretty sure if you go back and watch the games, I haven’t been running out balls as much as I usually do.” Martinez said it’s the bumps and bruises of playing every day and believes Rendon will be in Cleveland.
The Nationals homered for the 16th consecutive game, extending the team record (2005-present) and tying the franchise mark set by the Montreal Expos in 1999.
Marlins rookie OF Harold Ramirez went 1 for 4 and has hit safely in all eight of his career games against the Nationals (12 for 44, .347).
Marlins: RF Brian Anderson left the game in the second inning with a right elbow contusion. X-rays were negative and he is listed as day-to-day. . LHP Caleb Smith (left hip inflammation) threw five innings for Double-A Jacksonville on Sunday allowing four runs on five hits while striking out eight.
Marlins: RHP Sandy Alcantara (4-7, 3.86) makes his first start since being named the NL All-Star team. He’s 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA in four career starts versus Washington.
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (9-4, 3.88) has a 10-game winning streak against the Marlins dating back to Sept. 20, 2015.