The Pirates appeared to be wasting yet another strong effort from the starting corps – this time from James McDonald. But back-to-back solo homers in the eighth from Garrett Jones and Andrew McCutchen propelled the Pirates to a 5-3 win.
The Pirates jumped on Livan Hernandez for two first inning runs. Alex Presley singled to start the game. Chase D’Arnaud’s grounder forced him at second base. D’Arnaud swiped second and scored on a single from Jones. McCutchen doubled and put runners on second and third. Neil Walker lofted a fly ball that plated Jones.
Washington cut the lead to a run in the secon. McDonald allowed three straight singles to Michael Morse, David Espinosa and Ivan Rodriguez to score one run. McDonald picked Espinosa off third base and got Ian Desmond looking to thwart the threat.
The Nats loaded the bases with one out in the fifth. But McDonald rallied to retire Ryan Zimmerman and Laynce Nix. With one out in the seventh, pinch hitter Rick Ankiel hit a solo homer to tie it up.
Pittsburgh seized the lead for good in the top of the eighth on the homers from Jones and McCutchen. Both blasts came against former Bucco Sean Burnett. Pittsburgh manufactured a run in the ninth. Brandon Wood singled and was bunted over by Michael McKenry. Pinch hitter Matt Diaz singled him in.
The Nats made it interesting in the ninth against Joel Hanrahan. Werth singled in a run with two outs. But Hanrahan retired Zimmerman to end the game.
McDonald went 6-1/3 and gave up two runs on seven hits and three walks. Jose Veras tossed 1-2/3 innings of relief for the win. Hanrahan has 24 saves. Burnett fell to 3-5. Herandez went seven innings and gave up the two first inning runs. He gave up seven hits and walked two. He struck out six.
Presley and Jones each had three hits.
McDonald deserved a win.
I have nothing.
Presley had the first three hit game of his career. This was Jones first three hit game on the year and his first since 9/28/10.
McDonald is still 0-1 against Washington. Hernandez stays at 5-6 versus Pittsburgh.
With Ronny Cedeno on the seven day concussion DL, Wood started at short.
McDonald whiffed seven for the third time this year and first time since May 13. He has not allowed more than three runs in any of his last nine starts and has dropped 1.80 runs off his ERA.