In the second game of their four game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Washington Nationals put up a four spot in the top of the fourth inning, but they were unable to hold the lead. Max Scherzer was on the mound for the Nats and despite pounding the strike zone, he gave up three home runs in a start for the first time this season. After the Nats tied it on a Ian Desmond home run in the top of the sixth, Pittsburgh would score two more runs in the bottom of the inning against Sammy Solis en route to a 7-5 win.
The Pirates got the scoring started in the bottom of the second. After a one out single by Jung Ho Kang, Pedro Alvarez ripped a two-run homer into the Allegheny River. His 14th home run of the season and second in as many nights gave Pittsburgh an early 2-0 lead.
Pirates’ starter Jeff Locke did not give up a hit to the first ten batters he faced, but he ran into trouble in the fourth inning. After back-to-back walks by Danny Espinosa and Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos got the Nationals on the board when he drove in Espinosa with a RBI single to center. Ian Desmond would draw the third walk of the inning to load the bases.
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That would set the stage for Tyler Moore as he hit a two-run double to center field to give the Nats the lead. Dan Uggla would cap the scoring in the fourth with a RBI bloop single to center to put the Nationals up 4-2. But, Max Scherzer would not be able to hold the lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, Scherzer started the inning by walking the pinch-hitter, Jeff Decker. Then, Gregory Polanco made Scherzer throw 12 pitches and hit a hanging curveball on the 12th pitch of the at-bat over the wall in right center for a two-run homer. His fourth home run of the season tied the game.
Neil Walker would follow that up with a solo shot to right center, his eighth of the season, to put the Pirates up 5-4. In the end, Scherzer went five innings, gave up five runs on seven hits, struck out eight, and walked one on 98 pitches (69 strikes).
However, the Nationals would tie it up in the top of the sixth. Leading off the inning, Desmond hit a solo home run to center field. His 10th of the season and third home run in the last five days tied the game at five.
After Scherzer left the game, Sammy Solis came in to pitch the bottom of the sixth. With Francisco Cervelli on first and two outs, pinch-hitter Brent Morel hit a double to center to put Pittsburgh ahead, 6-5. Polanco would follow Morel up with a RBI single to center, his third RBI of the night, to give the Pirates a 7-5 lead.
Aaron Barrett and Casey Janssen would shut the Pirates out in the seventh and eighth inning. The Nationals would try to rally in the top of the ninth against closer Mark Melancon when pinch-hitter Emmanuel Burriss led off the inning with a bunt single. However, Clint Robinson would ground into a 3-6-3 double play. Michael Taylor would single to left with two outs, but Espinosa grounded out to Melancon to end the game. It was Melancon’s 31st save of the season. Vance Worley (4-5, 3.78) recorded the win while Solis (1-1, 4.97) took the loss.
Next Game: The Washington Nationals (51-44) will be back in action tomorrow night when they face the Pittsburgh Pirates (55-40) in the third game of their four game series at PNC Park. You can catch the game at 7:05 PM ET on MASN2. Gio Gonzalez (7-4, 3.93 ERA) gets the start for the Nats against A.J. Burnett (8-3, 2.44) for the Pirates.