The game did not turn out the way the Nationals wanted, but one thing is for certain: Patrick Corbin battled.
Robinson Chirinos went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and an RBI single as the Mets won 3-2 at Nationals Park, taking the opener of a season-ending four-game series on Thursday night.
The signature moment for the lefty came in the seventh inning when the Nats were down two runs. Corbin again demonstrated his value with a gutsy performance to get out of a jam.
The Mets loaded the bases on singles from Dominic Smith and Pete Alonso and a walk to Todd Frazier. With two outs and the game on the line, Corbin got Amed Rosario looking at a 92 mph sinker on a 2-2 count. It was representative of the resolve of Corbin, the confidence to believe in your stuff. Even with the Mets putting together 10 hits, Corbin did not back down.
"I froze him on a fastball inside," Corbin said during his postgame Zoom video session. "Missed a couple of inches in before that home run by Chirinos on that same pitch. That one I was able to get in there. Threw Frazier the same one when I walked him. I felt better with my fastball command today. Maybe not the best slider. We threw a lot of changeups, got a lot of outs with that. That's another positive. There's glimpses when you feel good out there and some where you don't. You just try to take everything positive that you can from this season and try to bring it in to next year and be ready to go."
The southpaw has now allowed 42 hits in his last four starts. He believes it's because the ball does not feel quite perfect on his release at times.
"Maybe all year the ball just wasn't coming out as it normally does, not really sure why that was," Corbin said. "I just want to go into next year - hopefully a normal season where you are able to build up, get your arm strength there and be ready to make 33 starts."
Corbin fired a season-high 113 pitches, 71 for strikes, and lasted seven innings, allowing three runs with three walks and three strikeouts. Smith had two doubles and a single against Corbin. But symbolizing how good the left-hander was at preventing big innings, Smith never scored a run
The Mets finally broke through against Corbin in the fifth inning.
With the Nats up 1-0, Guillermo Heredia started the inning with a single. Then in a battle against Chirinos, the Mets catcher launched a 3-2 sinker just over the right-center field wall for a 2-1 lead. In the sixth, Chirinos added a single to deep second base that scored Robinson CanÃ³ to make it 3-1.
"He battled all night long," said Nats manager Davey Martinez. "It's just a testament to who he is. I wasn't going to take him out of the game. I wanted to go out there and let him compete. Those were his runs, and he knew that and he got through it and got a big strikeout there at the end with bases loaded. That's just who he is. I'm proud of him, what he's done this short few months. I want him to go home, go rest and come back strong for 2021."
The Nats again had trouble against Mets left-hander David Peterson. On Aug. 13, the last meeting between the clubs, the southpaw held the Nats to one run on one hit over five innings as the Mets cruised to an 8-2 win at Citi Field.
The Nats managed four hits off Peterson, but could never string together multiple hits. Josh Harrison's RBI single in the fourth scored Kurt Suzuki to put the Nats up 1-0. Harrison connected for two hits and also reached base when he was hit by a pitch. Martinez has valued what Harrison has brought to club after he was released before the season began by the Phillies.
"He's just as advertised," Martinez said. "He's fun to be around, he understands the game. He is a true constant every single day. You never have to tell him to be ready. He always ready. For me that's what you want on this team. He fits in.
"I hope that we sit back at the end of this year when we start evaluating things and what we need. For me, he's somebody we need. I'd love to have him. He's great with the young kids. There will definitely be some conversations about him this winter."
Even with the Nats out of this race, Harrison is not going to stop grinding.
"Just staying ready," Harrison said. "Granted, last night we found out we were eliminated. But at the end of the day, still some games left. Coming from a guy that's missed time due to injury, I play every game like it's my last regardless of situation. There's still three games. You want to finish string because at the end of the day it's all that matters."
Juan Soto had a one-out double in the sixth. But Peterson got Suzuki to fly out to deep center field and Yan Gomes grounded out to second to end that opportunity. Peterson also went seven innings, allowing only one run with four strikeouts and one walk in the win.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Nats got the tying run to the plate against reliever Justin Wilson. With one-out, Trea Turner walked. Soto popped up in foul ground to the third baseman. In a 12-pitch battle, Suzuki's fielder's choice grounder to third base ended the chance.
In the bottom of the ninth against Mets closer Edwin DÃaz, pinch-hitter Andrew Stevenson drilled a one-out double to deep center field that bounced off the wall. Pinch-hitter Eric Thames struck out swinging on a 100 mph sinker. Pinch-hitter Yadiel HernÃ¡ndez singled to left field to score Stevenson and the Mets lead was 3-2. Luis GarcÃa grounded out to second to end the game.
On defense, Michael A. Taylor made an amazing catch on a long fly ball by Jeff McNeil into foul territory down the left field line to end the top of the eighth. Taylor timed his jump perfectly, crashing into the side wall and making the catch.
Kyle Finnegan had two strikeouts in a scoreless eighth. Will Harris allowed two singles in the ninth, but kept the Mets from adding on.
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