February 19, 2018

Washington Nationals Game 95 Review: Pirates out-slug Nationals, win 7-5

NATIONALS DROP BRUISER BATTLE TO PIRATES 7-5

The Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates battled like heavyweights on Friday night before a sold out crowd at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. The Pirates would blast a trio of knockout home runs off Scherzer – with Pedro Alvarez’s two-run shot in the second inning ending up in the Allegheny River – before forcing him from the game after five innings. The Nationals would strike for four runs against Jeff Locke in the fourth inning, and Ian Desmond would tie the game at five in the sixth with a muscled home run.

Sammy Solis would surrender a pair of runs in the sixth inning, putting the Pirates back on top just after the Nationals had tied the game. Francisco Cerelli started the rally with a single to right, and scored on Brent Worel’s pinch-hit double. Gregory Polanco, fresh off a moon shot home run off Scherzer, singled up the middle to score Worel, and give the Pirates a 7-5 lead after six.

Scherzer’s night (5IP, 7H, 5ER, 8K, 1BB) was marred by three mammoth home runs by the Pirates. The first, by Pedro Alvarez, would come to rest in the river beyond right field. The second, a two-run blow by Gregory Polanco, would end in the last row off the right field leachers. The third, a solo shot by Neil Walker, landed on the berm past the center field wall. The Pirates had their A-game on Friday, hitting Scherzer’s secondary pitches, and reading his rhythm very well.

Aaron Barrett threw a scoreless seventh inning for the Nats bullpen, giving way for Casey Janssen to do the same in the eighth. Both are pitching like they know who’s going to get cut if there’s a trade for Aroldis Chapman.

The Pirates’ pen combined for three scoreless innings after Desmond’s solo shot, with Hughes, Watson and Melancon shutting down the Nationals without much effort. Robinson, a late scratch, would ground into an untimely double play in the ninth to shut down their only rally attempt in the late game.

The Mets dropped their game to the Dodgers on Friday night in New York, keeping the division lead to three games.

The Pirates and Nationals return to PNC Park on Saturday night, the Nationals facing a 0-2 deficit in the series.

HERO: No hero tonight. Honorable mention for Ian Desmond for his 101st home run.

GOAT: Games like this one are a team effort, no goat tonight.

NATS NOTES:

  • Clint Robinson was a late scratch today, moving Moore to 1B and putting den Dekker in the lineup.
  • The Pirates’ three home runs off Scherzer matches a season high.

NEXT UP: Rematch with the Pirates tomorrow, Gio Gonzalez (7-4, 3.93) vs A.J. Burnett (8-3, 2.44), 7:05pm.

About Tom Bridge

Tom Bridge is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Nationals. Tom has been in love with baseball since he was 10. He is a founding editor of We Love DC, where he covered the Nationals and Capitals as a credentialed writer for four seasons. He grew up as an Oakland Athletics fan in the Central Valley in California, where he learned to appreciate Bill King, Mark McGwire and even Tony LaRussa. By day, he is a partner at Technolutionary LLC, where he handles IT operations. He cannot abide the Cardinals. You can follow Tom on Twitter @TomBridgeDSP.

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