August 17, 2019

Washington Nationals Game 94 Review: Fister is Shaky While Pittsburgh’s Offense Comes Alive

The Pittsburgh Pirates pounced all over starting pitcher Doug Fister on Thursday night at PNC Park beating the Washington Nationals 7-3.

Fister pitched five innings and gave up nine hits and four runs while walking one batter, striking out six, and giving up one home run. He threw 99 pitches and 65 strikes.

Pittsburgh scored first and early with one out in the bottom of the first inning when outfielder Andrew McCutchen went home on a triple hit by Starling Marte. The Pirates tacked on another run in the second inning with a solo home run hit by first baseman Pedro Alvarez, putting the Pirates up 2-0 over Washington.

The Nats eventually got on the board in the fifth inning when outfielder Clint Robinson reached home on a wild pitch thrown by Pirates starting pitcher Francisco Liriano.

But Pittsburgh answered right back in the bottom half of the fifth inning with two more runs scored when Marte scored on a one-out double hit by third baseman Jung Ho Kang, making it a 4-1 ball game. Then, a pair of home runs — including a two-run shot by McCutchen in the seventh and a solo bomb off rookie reliever Abel De Los Santos in the eighth — widened the score gap to 7-1 before the Nats made a last-ditch effort to score more than one run.

Shortstop Ian Desmond came up big against Pirates reliever Arquimedes Caminero and hit his hundredth career home run – a two-run shot – bringing a Nats closer to beating the Pirates at 7-3 but that was it for Washington’s offense after the blip sign of offensive production.

THE HERO: Desmond. A career milestone moment in the bottom of the ninth is something worth special note and recognition.

THE GOAT: Fister. The Pirates hit him. And they hit him hard.

UP NEXT: Max Scherzer (10-8, 2.09) and the Washington Nationals face Jeff Locke (5-6, 4.01) and the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.

Washington Nationals Series Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates

The Nationals (51-42) kick off a 10-game road trip in Pittsburgh against the Pirates (54-40).

The Nats, courtesy of their 8th inning comeback Wednesday afternoon against the Mets, enter the  four game series 3 games in front of New York in the National League East.

The Pirates own the second-best record in the National League, but the only team with a better record (and in fact the best record in the majors) is the St. Louis Cardinals, who lead the Pirates in the Central by six games.

*The Last Time…

The Nationals and Pirates last faced off a month ago in Washington. The Pirates came into the series as the hottest team in baseball, but the Nationals cooled them off quickly, sweeping the 3-game series, which featured Max Scherzer’s no-hitter…and near perfect game.

*In The Other Dugout

The Pirates went rolling into the All Star break, beating their division rival Cardinals three out of four games to end the first half. But things have not gone the Pirates’ way coming out of the break. Not only has the team lost five of six, but they lost shortstop Jordy Mercer to an MCL sprain earlier this week. He joins infielder Josh Harrison on the disabled list, with neither one expected back before September.

*Matchup To Watch

Pittsburgh’s Pedro Alvarez is 4-for-7 against Thursday night’s starter, Doug Fister. After that, though, Alvarez is a combined 0-for-18 against the three remaining Nationals starters in the series.

*Probables

Thursday, 7:05pm: Doug Fister (3-5, 4.30 ERA) vs. Francisco Liriano (5-6, 2.98 ERA)

Friday, 7:05pm: Max Scherzer (10-8, 2.09 ERA) vs. Jeff Locke (5-6, 4.01 ERA)

Saturday, 7:05pm: Gio Gonzalez (7-4, 3.93 ERA) vs. A.J. Burnett (8-3, 2.44 ERA)

Sunday, 1:35pm: Joe Ross (2-2, 2.70 ERA) vs. Gerrit Cole (13-4, 2.31 ERA)

Washington Nationals Game 69 Review: NO-NO FOR SCHERZER

MAX SCHERZER STRIKES OUT 10, ONE STRIKE AWAY FROM PERFECTO

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Max Scherzer and Dan Kolko covered in chocolate sauce. (Screengrab by @cnichols14/DistrictSportsPage)

Last time out, Max Scherzer came one broken-bat looper from tossing a no-hitter. As it was, the one-hit, one-walk complete game shutout was just the second complete game of his career, and his game score of 100 includes the performance on the list as one of the greatest pitching outings in Washington baseball history.

So what did he do for a follow-up?

How about a two-strike, two-out hit-by-pitch in the ninth inning being the only blemish on a no-hitter?.

In front of a capacity 41, 104 at Nats Park, Max Scherzer threw the second no-hitter in Washington Nationals history, striking out 10 in a performance as dominant as the one-hitter last Sunday. Though his game score was just a tick below his last outing, it was every bit as impressive. And he came one strike from throwing the 24th perfect game in baseball history. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 68 Review: Rookie Joe Ross Impresses in Win Over Pittsburgh

Rookie pitcher Joe Ross stepped up to help the Washington Nationals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-1 on Friday night in front of a sold out crowd of 38,935 at Nationals Park while striking out eleven batters in his third Major League start. Ross was consistent through seven and one-third innings pitched. He threw 102 pitched and seventy three strikes while giving up one run on six hits, striking out eleven, and walking one batter. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Series Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates

June has not been kind to the Washington Nationals. After dropping three of their four games against the Rays, the Nationals (34-33) are now 6-11 this month. To make matters worse, Bryce Harper’s status is uncertain after he suffered a hamstring strain Thursday night – he’ll be re-evaluated before Friday night’s game.

If there is any series in which the Nationals can’t afford to be even more short-handed offensively than they already are (see: Zimmerman, Ryan and Werth, Jayson), it might be this one. The Nationals begin a three-game weekend series with the Pittsburgh Pirates (39-27), who are rolling. The Pirates come to Washington on an eight-game winning streak, having swept the White Sox in four games and the Phillies in three before that. The Pirates are still four games behind the Cardinals in the Central, but they’ve moved three games in front of the Cubs to take over second place in that division. In the National League East, meanwhile, the Nationals are a game-and-a-half behind the Mets, who begin a weekend series in Atlanta after splitting their four games with Toronto.

*The Last Time…

The Pirates and Nationals last met last August, when the Nationals swept a three-game series. Last May the Pirates took three out of four in Pittsburgh. Five of the six matchups last year were one-run games.

*In The Other Dugout

The key to the Pirates’ recent success has been their starting pitching. In the midst of their eight-game winning streak the Pirates had three straight shutouts, and a stretch where they didn’t allow a run in five games out of six. The Pirates’ starting pitchers lead the majors in earned run average and the team has won 21 of its last 26 overall.

*Matchup To Watch

In a series where runs could be very hard to come by, this might prove to be important: Anthony Rendon is 7 for 16 (.438) in his career against Friday night’s Pirates starter A.J. Burnett, with 3 home runs and 9 RBI.

*Probables

Friday, 7:05pm: A.J. Burnett (6-2, 1.89 ERA) vs. Joe Ross (1-1, 3.46 ERA)

Saturday, 4:05pm: Francisco Liriano (4-5, 2.94 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (7-5, 1.93 ERA)

Sunday, 1:35pm: Charlie Morton (5-0, 1.62 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (4-4, 4.82 ERA)

Washington Nationals Game 122 Review: Nats Top Pirates Again in Walkoff Fashion

For the second straight game, the Washington Nationals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in a walkoff scenario, this time in 11 innings by the score of 6-5 at Nationals Park Sunday evening.

Pinch-hitter Scott Hairston came up with the game-winning sacrifice fly that plated Jayson Werth, who reached base on a smoker double off the left-field wall.

Washington starter Doug Firster was solid through seven innings pitched, allowing just two unearned runs on five hits and a walk. Unearned runs proved a menace to both teams’ starters as Pittsburgh’s Edinson Volquez allowed four runs – only one of which were earned – on six hits and two walks through 6.1 innings pitched.

In the top of the sixth, Gregory Polanco reached on a fielding error by Ian Desmond to start things off before Josh Harrison singled to right.

Neil Walker then grounded into an otherwise easy fielder’s choice, but on the play, Anthony Rendon committed a throwing error which allowed Harrison to take third as Polanco came home.

Russell Martin then singled to plate Harrison to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead.

The Nationals earned one back in the bottom of the inning, however, after Rendon singled and Adam LaRoche drew a walk, allowing Desmond to bat in Rendon with a single of his own.

In the seventh, the Nats looked positioned to run away with the lead.

Michael Taylor took first with one out on a hit-by-pitch, before Kevin Frandsen and Denard Span hit back-to-back singles. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 121 Review: Nats Rally Late, Walk off against Pirates

ADAM LAROCHE, WILSON RAMOS LEAD LATE CHARGE FOR FIFTH STRAIGHT WIN

The Washington Nationals rallied late to top the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 in walkoff fashion Saturday night at Nationals Park to tally their fifth straight win.

The Nats struggled offensively all night against Pittsburgh starter Jeff Locke, who held Washington scoreless through 5.2 innings with just four hits and two walks allowed.

Meanwhile, Gio Gonzalez’s performance, yet again, was middle-of-the-road. The 6-9 starter allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks through 5.0 innings pitched in what later became a no decision thanks to Adam LaRoche & co.

All three runs came in the third after Gonzalez allowed a single to Josh Harrison and a walk to Russell Martin. The next batter, Starling Marte, doubled on a line drive to left to knock in a run, before Gaby Sanchez singled in Martin and Marte. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 120 Review: Nats Hang on to Top Pirates in Series Opener

WIN MARKS WASHINGTON’S FOURTH STRAIGHT

Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche drove in two runs apiece to help Tanner Roark and the Washington Nationals to a 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park Friday night.

Having scored all five runs within the first three innings against Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton, the Nats nearly let their 67th win of the season slide through the cracks.

Morton gave up nothing but singles and walks to account for the Nats’ first three earned runs. Denard Span started the bottom of the first with a single, before Asdrubal Cabrera walked and Anthony Rendon and LaRoche hit back-to-back singles to put the first run on the board.

Ian Desmond then walked on four pitches before Harper hit a two-RBI single.

In the bottom of the third, the Nats kept with the strategy that worked.

Cabrera led off with a single, Rendon walked, and LaRoche hit an RBI-single to make it 4-0 Washington.

After Desmond grounded into a force out and Harper struck out swinging, Wilson Ramos batted in the run that would later round out the Nats’ win with a single on a sharp grounder up the middle.

In the top of the fourth, however, Roark nearly lost his footing.

After getting Russell Martin to fly out, Roark allowed a double to Neil Walker and a two-run homer to Starling Marte to cut the Nats’ lead to 5-2.

Then, Roark walked Travis Snider before getting Ike Davis to fly out without advancing the runner. But, Pedro Alvarez doubled in Snider to make it 5-3.

Roark lasted for just 5.2 innings pitched to earn the win, allowing three runs on just five hits, two walks, four strikeouts and a homer.

The win was all but in the bag until closer Rafael Soriano cut things pretty close in the ninth.

Soriano allowed a leadoff single to Marte who advanced on Snider’s grounder. Soriano then got Gaby Sanchez to fly out, but Alvarez answered with an RBI single.

The Pirates then opted for pinch-hitter Chris Stewart who singled to right, advancing the tying run to third.

But, Soriano lucked out with a 93 MPH fastball that jammed up Josh Harrison, who popped out to Ramos in foul territory.

With the win, the Nats remain six games up on the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East.

Nats Nightly: Nationals salvage series finale, 5-2 over Pirates in PNC

Dave Nichols of District Sports Page and Patrick Reddington and “Doghouse” of Federal Baseball discuss the Washington Nationals 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates to even the Nats record at .500.

Listen To Baseball Internet Radio Stations with District Sports Page Nats Nightly on BlogTalkRadio

Washington Nationals Game 50 Review: Nats top Pirates 5-2 to end four-game skid

After losing the first three games of the series — and four in a row — to fall below .500, the Washington Nationals came into Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in desperate need of a win.

Behind 5 2/3 very strong innings by Doug Fister, the Nats topped the Pirates 5-2 on Sunday at PNC Park.

The Nats came out swinging in the first inning against Francisco Liriano (L, 0-5, 5.06). Denard Span led off with a double to right and Anthony Rendon drew a walk. After Jayson Werth struck out and Adam LaRoche grounded out — moving the runners up — Liriano uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Span to score. Ian Desmond followed with a single, bringing home Rendon.

They got back at it in the fifth. Span singled to start the inning and scored on Rendon’s triple. With one out, Liriano threw another wild pitch, and Rendon came home to make it 4-0.

Pittsburgh got one back in the bottom of the sixth. Josh Harrison homered on Doug Fister’s first pitch of the inning. Fister started to leave the ball up, though, and gave up singles to Neil Walker and Ike Davis, ending his day early. Craig Stammen came on to generate a ground ball double play to end the inning.

Fister (W, 2-1, 3.42) threw 5 1/3 innings and allowed the one earned run on six hits. He struck out four and did not walk a batter. In fact, in his four starts so far this season, he’s walked just one hitter.

The Nats pushed the lead back to four in the seventh. With one out, Werth singled off reliever Vin Mazzaro. He went to third on LaRoche’s single up the middle against the shift. Desmond then lined a shot down the right field line that Josh Harrison appeared to have caught and Werth scored. But after replay, it was clear Harrison did not make a clean catch, and Desmond was awarded a single.

The Pirates cut their deficit to three in the eighth against Craig Stammen. Josh Harrison and Neil Walker had back-to-back one-out singles, so Matt Williams called upon Aaron Barrett. Barrett struck out Andrew McCutchen on a wicked slider, but Ike Davis lined 1-1 fastball to center to bring in Harrison. Barrett then struck out Starling Marte to end the rally.

Rafael Soriano pitched a clean ninth inning to close the win.

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