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.
The Pirates then swapped in Jared Hughes to replace Volquez, just in time for the Pirates to return the favor of committing two errors.
The first mirrored the Nats’ throwing error on a would-be fielder’s choice by Asdrubal Cabrera. On the play, first baseman Ike Davis scrambled for the ball, but threw high to Martin, allowing Taylor and Frandsen to score.
Then, Rendon reached on a similar play that culminated in a throwing error by third baseman Pedro Alvarez that allowed Span to score to make it 4-2 Nats.
Washington carried that lead until the ninth when closer Rafael Soriano seemingly tried to forfeit a shot at a “Curly W.”
Soriano dealt six pitches to Starling Marte before hitting him with a two-seam fastball on a 2-2 count. Then, Soriano allowed a single to Travis Snider before tossing a wild pitch that allowed Marte to score and advanced pinch-runner Michael Martinez.
Ike Davis then drew a walk before Gaby Sanchez grounded into a force out, advancing Martinez and pinch-runner Jordy Mercer to third and second, respectively.
Then, on Polanco’s two-out double, the Pirates pulled in front 5-4.
But, all was not lost.
In the bottom of the ninth, with Mark Melancon on the mound, Jayson Werth drew a one-out walk and Span singled, setting up the perfect opportunity for Cabrera.
Cabrera then came through with a game-tying single before Rendon and LaRoche failed to push the Nats ahead once and for all.
Both teams successfully pitched into and out of the 10th inning before Werth and Hairston helped Washington to its sixth straight win.