Finally, a bit of offense. Stephen Strasburg received the most runs in support he has all season today, but he needed every one as he allowed the second most runs he has all season. The attack was led by Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche, two players who were on the DL and mired in a monstrous slump, respectively, just a few days ago. Despite Strasburg’s sub-optimal outing and the offense’s squandering of many offensive situations by going 1-10 with runners in scoring position, the Nationals did just enough to win, taking the lead in the ninth and beating the Pirates 5-4.
Most Important Nationals Hit: Wilson Ramos‘ two-run single (+21.5%)
As I said earlier, the Nationals had only one hit with runners in scoring position. This was that hit. After a single and two walks loaded the bases, Tyler Moore struck out before Ramos punched a single up the middle to score Bryce Harper and Zimmerman. This hit ended a mini-slump for Ramos, who had been 0-16 since returning from the DL. His hit was one of only six for the Nats, who actually had 17 total baserunners, with six walks, three HBPs, and two runners who reached on errors.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: Starling Marte‘s two-run home run (-22.9%)
For the second straight game, a Pirate hit a pivotal two-run homer. The Nats took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third with a sacrifice fly from Ian Desmond, but Marte’s home run erased that deficit and gave Pittsburgh a lead of their own. His bomb scored Clint Barmes, who would later hit a two-run home run of his own. Curiously enough, Barmes’ home run would score Jordy Mercer, who hit the eventual game-winning two-run home run last night. Who did Mercer’s homer score, you ask? Why, Marte, of course.
Champ of the Game: Zimmerman (+43.1%) announced to everyone that he had not lost his touch while on the DL, despite his golden sombrero last night. He went 1-2 with a triple, two walks, and three runs scored. For the Pirates, Marte (+29.1%) was 1-3 with his two-run homer and a first-inning HBP that saw him eventually get to third thanks to a steal and a Wilson Ramos error on the throw attempting to get him at second.
Chump of the Game: Strasburg (-19.6%) had another mediocre start: 7 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 2 HBP. His stats have been fine, but he has not seemed dominant on the mound like he once did. The Pirates’ Tony Watson (-26.2%) took the loss by allowing the winning run to score in the top of the ninth.