Nats' Corbin fights tears after tribute to Skaggs

Corbin emotional talking about Skaggs' friendship (0:57)

An emotional Patrick Corbin says Tyler Skaggs is all he is thinking about after the Nationals pitcher played with a heavy heart. (0:57)

WASHINGTON -- Patrick Corbin couldn't hold back his emotions as he remembered Tyler Skaggs after his start on Tuesday night.

"He was in my wedding this offseason," Corbin said when asked about his relationship with Skaggs, the Los Angeles Angels pitcher who died suddenly at age 27 on Monday.

The Washington Nationals hurler then got choked up, put his head down and paused. When he tried to talk again, he could barely get the words out.

"He's just all I'm thinking about," he said.

Corbin, 29, said he was thinking about Skaggs during dinner on Monday night when he first considered honoring his best friend by wearing Skaggs' No. 45 on the mound.

"I looked at our roster first to see if anyone had it," said Corbin, who has worn No. 46 his entire career. "I didn't see anybody, so I just thought it'd be a good idea."

After donning Skaggs' digits on Tuesday, and not long after a double rainbow appeared over Nationals Park, Corbin headed out to the bullpen for pregame warm-ups.

"You could tell, not that he wasn't his usual self, but he was holding it in," Nationals catcher Yan Gomes said. "And when we went out to the bullpen, he kind of lost it a little bit during the moment of silence."

Moments later, Corbin took the mound and drew the No. 45 in the dirt on the back of the pitcher's mound shortly before his first pitch. After a bumpy start in which he allowed singles to the first three batters to hand Miami a 1-0 lead, Corbin settled down and held the Marlins scoreless over the next six innings.

Not even Mother Nature could stop him. After a 76-minute rain delay halted the game in the middle of the third, Corbin surprisingly returned to the mound and picked up right where he left off. It was the first time in his career that he has ever come back to pitch following an in-game rain delay. Corbin allowed a run on six hits over seven innings, striking out seven without a walk. He exited with his team leading 2-1 but took a no-decision in Washington's 3-2 win.

"If you saw Pat in here, there was no way he was coming out of that game," Gomes said of Corbin. "It's one of those performances that we're going to remember, he's going to remember, just because of how much motivation he had behind it."

Corbin and Skaggs were both drafted by the Angels in 2009, one round apart. The two southpaws were teammates in rookie ball and single-A and stayed together when the Angels traded them both to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010. They both made their big league debuts with Arizona in 2012.

Even though the Angels reacquired Skaggs the following year, he and Corbin stayed close. This past offseason, they attended each other's weddings. Despite the tragic news on Monday, Corbin chose to make his regularly scheduled start on Tuesday.

"I think when you have a loss, you want to keep things as normal as you can," Corbin said. "You want to go out there and do what you have to do. Saw the Angels played today, too, so, I don't know. I think it's best to just go out there and play the game of baseball."