An Adam LaRoche single was all the noise in the second, and a Kurt Suzuki infield knock on a Pedro double clutch all the damage done in the third.
With two down in the fourth, LaRoche walked on five pitches and Tyler Moore followed with a single to center. Danny Espinosa cashed in LaRoche with a ground single to right just past Mercer, Adam chugging home ahead of a poor throw to the dish by RF Brandon Inge. Martin finished the frame on that play by tossing out Moore at third, but it was a tie game. The three guys that put together the rally all went into the inning hitting below the Mendoza line.
The Bucs tried to answer. Cutch with a single and Martin via the walk were aboard with an out, but Detwiler K'ed Inge and Pedro to end the threat. The Nats were retired in order in the fifth, and the first two Bucs went down. Then Starling Marte singled up the middle, stole second on a pick off throw and trotted home ahead of Jordy Mercer, who took a 2-0 fastball over the fence in left for his second big league HR, making it 3-1 after five innings.
Burnett tossed a clean sixth, thanks to picking off Bryce Harper, who had singled. AJ should have some gas left in the tank, being at 83 pitches. The Bucs chased Detwiler after a leadoff five pitch walk to Martin. Travis Snider replaced Inge to face Craig Stammen, who knocked down his shot up the middle to retire him at first. Pedro tapped out, moving the runner to third. The Nats opted to work on Clint Barmes rather than face AJ (or a pinch hitter) and got him on a bouncer to third.
AJ put Washington down in order, but that's probably it for him. He labored through a couple of deep counts, his fastball velocity was dipping to 89-90 and he leads off. But Clint let him bat, and he K'ed. Marte picked him up by lining a 3-2 slider into left for a knock. He was balked to second after a couple of tosses over, and stole third as Mercer K'ed, swinging at balls four and five. Stammen ended Cutch's 3-for-3 streak, getting him to bounce out to end the seventh.
Mark Melancon came on, the smart bet. Apparently Clint didn't want to use up a slightly short bench last frame, or figured AJ had a better shot at a hit than Old McDonald. At any rate, AJ went seven, giving up a run on five hits, a walk and nine punchouts. After a ground out, Pedro booted Chad Tracy's roller to put him at first. Ian Desmond blooped a soft liner into right with two down to put Nats on the corners with Harper at the plate. MM worked him hard inside and got him swinging when he went down and away with a cutter to end the frame.
Ryan Mattheus climbed the hill. With one down, Gaby Sanchez and Snider were on first and second after singles. Pedro took one just short of the wall in left, but it was just a loud second out. Garrett Jones grabbed a stick in place of Barmes and flew out to fairly deep center. So a couple of noisy flies don't aid the cause, and it's Jason Grilli time in Pittsburgh to face Washington's 4-5-6 hitters.
He caught Ryan Zimmerman looking at a 1-2 fastball. LaRoche singled the opposite way on a 2-1 heater that was up and away. Moore followed by taking a called third strike, and so did Espinosa. Sorta surprising they all took strike three, looking at fastballs over the plate, not the edges. Their bad for sitting on sliders. Grilli notched his 12th save and AJ picked up his third win.
The Bucs could have made it a little easier on themselves, going just 1-for-10 with RISP. But two more homers saved the day; the Bucs now have 31 long balls.
Jeff Locke takes on Steve Strasburg tomorrow afternoon with a 4:05 starting time.
- Cutch had three hits to lead the attack; Starling Marte and Gaby Sanchez had a pair apiece.
- Marte's nine steals ties him for the NL lead with Miami's Juan Pierre. He's 9-of-11 in the stolen sack department.
- 14 Nationals K'ed, seven of them looking.
- The Bucs drew 26,404, not bad considering that half the sporting region was at Consol tonight to catch the Penguins.
- Per Tim Williams of Pirates Prospects - Charlie Morton made a rehab start tonight at Indianapolis, but was removed after three innings and 49 pitches due to right shoulder tightness." That might delay the clock a little; we'll see what the docs think of it.