MILWAUKEE (AP) — Patrick Corbin broke out of his slump by pitching three-hit ball into the seventh inning and the Washington Nationals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-1 on Friday night.
Corbin (7-12) struck out seven, walked nobody and held the Brewers scoreless until allowing a homer to Avisaíl García on his 92nd and final pitch with one out in the seventh. Corbin entered the night with a 6.04 ERA and had allowed at least four earned runs in his last six starts.
“It’s been frustrating because I’ve been feeling pretty good,” Corbin said. “Tonight, it was great to see the results.”
Lane Thomas went 2 for 4 and hit a two-run triple for the Nationals. Kyle Finnegan worked a scoreless ninth for his fifth save in six opportunities.
His solo shot Friday was one of just three hits the Brewers accumulated all night, as Corbin set the tone for a quality Washington pitching performance.
“He was not concerned about anything but getting ahead of the hitters and pounding the strike zone,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said.
The Nationals broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning when Thomas knocked home two runs with a two-out triple to right off Brett Anderson (4-7).
Thomas had entered the night with a .135 batting average and only one RBI in 35 games. He is 4 of 8 in four games since joining the Nationals after going 5 of 48 in 32 games with the St. Louis Cardinals.
“I think it’s always good just playing in front of some new faces and new people that haven’t see me play that much,” Thomas said. “It gives you a little motivation to impress them and gain some more opportunity.”
Washington’s two-run outburst in the fourth came after talk show host Stephen Colbert spoke to the American Family Field crowd, causing a longer between-innings break than usual. Anderson gave up singles to two of the first three batters he faced immediately after Colbert’s speech.
“I’m probably less of a fan of Stephen than I was before,” Anderson quipped. “Kind of a bad omen. But stuff like that happens. If you pitch in the playoffs or you pitch in big games or stuff like that, you have delays and ceremonies and things like that. You just have to take it in stride. It’s kind of a weird coincidence I gave up two in that inning.”
Anderson allowed three runs, five hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings while striking out three. He left after walking two of the three batters he faced in the sixth inning.
The Nationals extended the lead to 3-0 on Riley Adams’ two-out single to left off reliever Hunter Strickland. Juan Soto scored from second by sliding home just ahead of Jace Peterson’s throw.
Milwaukee’s Lorenzo Cain drew a leadoff walk to send the tying run to the plate in the eighth, but Andres Machado came out of the bullpen and got Christian Yelich to ground into a double play and Omar Narváez to ground out as well.
The Nationals completed the scoring when Josh Bell drew a bases-loaded walk from Jake Cousins in the ninth.
Colbert addressed the crowd while wearing a Brewers jersey as part of an appearance at American Family Field to apologize for comments he had made a year ago.
When the pandemic caused last year’s scheduled Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee to turn virtual, Colbert did a segment on his show featuring his own “virtual tour” of Milwaukee that some local residents found insulting.
The Brewers responded via Twitter by inviting Colbert to a tailgate in Milwaukee. Colbert later apologized to the city and accepted the Brewers’ invitation as long as he got to participate in a sausage race.
Brewers OF Tyrone Taylor left after four innings with right oblique discomfort. Manager Craig Counsell said after the game that Taylor would have an MRI and go on the injured list.
Brewers RHP Jandel Gustave, who has been on the COVID-19 injured list since July 31, is expected to begin a rehabilitation assignment next week.
The Nationals start RHP Paolo Espino (3-4, 4.16 ERA) and the Brewers turn to LHP Eric Lauer (4-4, 3.44) as this three-game series continues Saturday afternoon.