Russell Martin went down swinging at a 2-2 changeup. Mike McKenry went down looking after chasing two fastballs out of the zone and Brandon Inge rolled over on a 3-2 fastball on the outer half and bounced out to short. That's the dark side of clearing the bench on Sunday, even though there's an off day off tomorrow, and hopefully the failure to cash in won't bite the Bucs later in the game.
Ryan Zimmerman drew a five pitch walk to open the second, and Adam LaRoche doubled to put Nats at second and third; he's smokin' against his old maties. Tyler Moore whiffed. Danny Espinosa tied the game when he lifted a 3-1 heater to center for a sac fly, Washington's fourth in two games, with LaRoche taking third. Wandy got out of it, but the Nationals plated yet another free pass. The Bucs went down on grounders, though Wandy did bang out a knock.
With an out in the third, Span got an infield knock to short and stole second. Ian Desmond flew out to center and Span tagged to third. Wandy got Roger Bernadina swinging, but only after The Fort made a key block off a curve that got away the pitch before. The Bucs went down in order. Rodriguez and Gonzalez don't look like they're long for the game; both are at 61 pitches.
Zimmerman led off the fourth with a single. With two down, Wandy got ahead of Espinosa 0-2. He spoiled a couple and took a couple to run the count even and then launched a curve into the left field seats to make it 3-1 Washington. Wilson Ramos followed with a double, but Gonzalez grounded out to stop the bleeding. The Bucs again went down in order; that first inning fizzle looks big about now.
The fifth went by tamely, and Wandy finished off the Nats 1-2-3 in the sixth. That should be the day for him at 117 pitches. He went six, giving up three runs on six hits with a walk and seven K. Gaby Sanchez led off the sixth by lining a single off Gonzalez's mitt and scored, barely and slowly, on Russell Martin's double to left center. The next three Bucs - McKenry, Inge and Old McDonald - went down quietly on a pop and two weak rollers, but it was now a one run game and is in the bullpens' hands now, as Gio is at 102 tosses.
Jose Contreras took the bump as a Pirate for the first time in the seventh, and his first pitch was lined into center by Ramos. But he settled in to get a foul pop bunt and a pair of K, so good debut. Drew Storen made easy work of the Pirates in their half. Bryan Morris went to the hill, Travis Snider to right, Mercer to short and Inge to second for the eighth.
Bernadina dragged a bunt to the right side and beat it out. A bouncer moved him to second, which set up an intentional walk to LaRoche. Moore was behind 1-2 and looked like he swung through strike three; the ump at first saw it differently and gave him a reprieve on appeal. He knocked the next pitch, a slider right down the middle, up the line into the left field stands to give the Nats a 6-2 lead. That was the game as Vin Mazzaro and Raphael Soriano put up the final zero in the ninth.
The Pirates lost for all intents and purposes when they couldn't break it open in the first, and they went 0-for-9 with RISP during the afternoon. One thing we do like is Russell at third; it keeps his bat in the lineup when there's a lefty on the hill. We're still not sure about Clint protecting Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli, especially with an off day tomorrow. We get the concept, but Pittsburgh lost back-to-back one run games that were broken open late against middle relievers.
The Bucs are off tomorrow, then Seattle comes into town for a quick two game set.
- Tony Watson and Justin Wilson were off today after working stints yesterday, so not only was the Buc bench short, but so was the pen.
- Today's attendance was 24,186.
- Francisco Liriano didn't have the greatest outing while prepping for a call to Pittsburgh. He went five, giving up four runs on seven hits with a walk and six K, tossing 96 pitches. The Tribe lost 5-4 as Vic Black was touched up for a ninth inning run.
- Andrew Lambo hit his fifth long ball of the season for Altoona, but that was it as the Curve fell 2-1.