Washington Nationals Recap: Pirates Power Their Way Over Nats, 7-3


After taking two out of three games against the New York Mets at home, the Washington Nationals began a ten game road trip tonight when they started a four game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, it wasn’t a good start to the trip. Pittsburgh’s starter, Francisco Liriano, struck out 11 batters over six innings and Doug Fister struggled as Pittsburgh took the opening game of this series, 7-3.

Right out of the gate, it was the Pirates who scored first. With two outs, Andrew McCutchen lined a base hit to center field. Then, Starling Marte ripped a ball into left center field that would end up being a RBI triple and would give the Pirates a 1-0 lead. One inning later, Pedro Alvarez led off the inning with a solo shot to left. His 13th of the season made it 2-0, Pittsburgh.

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For four innings, the Nationals were not able to get a hit against Liriano, but they finally broke through in the fifth inning. Clint Robinson singled to left and Ian Desmond walked to start the inning. The problem for Liriano in the fifth was the wild pitches. While the Nats didn’t score on a wild pitch to Dan Uggla, they were able to score on the wild pitch to Tyler Moore to cut the lead to 2-1.

Even though he threw some wild pitches, Liriano was able to shut the Nats down for most of the night. He went six innings, gave up one run on three hits, struck out 11, and walked three in the victory.

Despite the Nationals getting on the board, the Pirates would continue to hit the ball hard against Fister, scoring two more runs in the bottom of the inning. After a one out single by Marte, Jung Ho Kang hit a RBI double to left and would advance to third due to Robinson bobbling the ball in left. On the next batter, Alvarez picked up his second RBI of the night when he grounded out to Fister to make it 4-1.

That would be it for Fister. He went five innings, gave up four runs on nine hits, struck out six, and walked one on 99 pitches. Tanner Roark would pitch the sixth inning and  give up a couple of runs in the bottom of the seventh.

With Neil Walker on second, McCutchen would crush a home run to dead center. His 13th of the season gave the Pirates a 6-1 lead. The lead would go to 7-1 in the bottom of the eighth when Francisco Cervelli hit a solo home run to center field against Abel De Los Santos, his fifth of the season.

The Nationals would get a couple runs back in the top of the ninth when Ian Desmond hit a two-run homer to center against Arquimedes Caminero to cut the deficit to 7-3. It was the shortstop’s ninth home run of the season and 100th of his career. However, Caminero was able to get the final three outs of the inning to seal the win.

Next Game: The Washington Nationals (51-43) will play the second game of their four series against the Pittsburgh Pirates (55-40) tomorrow night at PNC Park at 7:05 PM ET. You can catch the game on MASN2 and MLB Network. Max Scherzer (10-8, 2.09) takes the mound for the Nats against Jeff Locke (5-6, 4.01) for the Pirates.

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