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Grit Index: Patrick Corbin struggles again as Diamondbacks fall back to .500

With two games to play, the Arizona Diamondbacks have slipped to .500, their record now at 80-80, following Friday’s 8-4 loss to the Washington Nationals.

Patrick Corbin’s breakout season continued to slow on Friday, as he gave up five earned runs in 5.0 innings pitched. In his last seven starts, Corbin has gone 1-5 with an 8.00 ERA and a 1.861 WHIP, surrendering seven home runs, 55 hits and 12 walks in 36.0 innings pitched.

The left-hander looked to have things turned around early at Chase Field against Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg, however, tallying five strikeouts in the first four innings, getting ahead in the count and pounding the strike zone with 95-miles-per-hour fastballs, despite having an ineffective slider and change-up.

But Jayson Werth didn’t cooperate with Corbin. The outfielder — who is hitting .352 since July 26 with a .449 on-base percentage, 10 home runs, 25 extra-base hits and 41 RBI — was the first to score for his team Friday, making his way from first base to home plate in the fourth inning on a Bryce Harper double off the center field wall.

The following inning, Werth crushed a three-run home run off the scoreboard in left field to give the Nationals a 5-2 lead.

Corbin ultimately needed 90 pitches to complete his five-inning outing, striking out seven while allowing six hits and two walks.

Strasburg, on the other hand, lasted 7.0 innings in his final start of the season, working his 2013 ERA down to 3.00 by the time he exited the game with a three-run lead. The right-hander struck out four Diamondbacks hitters, while allowing six hits and two walks.

Didi Gregorius was the first to cross home plate for the Diamondbacks, doing so in the third inning on a Gerardo Parra bases-loaded single. Paul Goldschmidt grounded into a double play in the following at-bat, scoring Corbin, who was hit by a Strasburg pitch, and moving Adam Eaton to third base.

The Diamondbacks’ third-inning rally would ultimately end with a Aaron Hill popout, however, and they would fail to score again until the bottom of the ninth, when they added a pair of runs on singles from Gregorius and pinch-hitter Matt Davidson.

In order to improve on last season’s .500 mark, at 81-81, the Diamondbacks will have to win their next two games, facing the Nationals’ Dan Haren and Gio Gonzalez, respectively, on Saturday and Sunday.

The Good:

Goldschmidt extended his major league-leading hit streak to 17 games Friday with a fifth-inning single. He is hitting .397 during the stretch.

The Bad:

Corbin was 12-1 on July 23 and he had a 2.24 ERA at the end of that month, but he finished his season Friday with a 14-8 record and a 3.41 ERA, going 1-5 in his final seven starts, carrying an 8.00 ERA and 1.861 WHIP in the span.

He Said It:

“He had a great year and actually threw the ball decent tonight. Here’s a kid that still didn’t really have his slider working that good; his change-up wasn’t really there tonight, but he battled and went 208.1 innings for us, so he had an outstanding season and we hoped the outcome was better for him in his last starts, but they weren’t.” — Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson on Corbin’s season

Up Next:

Brandon McCarthy (5-10, 4.64 ERA) will look to end his season on a positive note Saturday when he faces former Diamondbacks pitcher Dan Haren (9-14, 4.87 ERA). Both right-handers are 1-1 in their last three starts, suffering from the long ball in each of their losses. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. MDT and can be heard on Arizona Sports 620 AM.