Game 83 Recap: Nats Rally Late to Split Double Header

Lincoln gave up two runs in six innings.

The Pirates offense and bullpen was unable to finish off a double header sweep of the Nationals. The home team rallied for a pair of runs in the eighth inning and the offense scored only three runs to ruin the 2011 debut of Brad Lincoln and salvage the split of the double header. The loss prevented the Pirates from moving three games above the .500 mark.

Pittsburgh and Washington traded runs early on. In the second Jayson Werth walked and moved to third on a single from Rick Ankiel. Catcher Wilson Ramos grounded out, bringing in Werth.

Eric Fryer collected his first Major League hit in the top of the third off of John Lannan to start a rally. Lincoln’s sac bunt moved him to second and he advanced to third on a ground ball from Alex Presley. Chase D’Arnaud singled Fryer home. Andrew McCutchen’s double scored D’Arnaud to put the Pirates up 2-1.

Washington scored the tying run in the bottom of the third with the exact same kind of inning. A lead off walk (to Roger Bernadina). A single (from Danny Espinosa) that pushed the lead runner to third. And a ground ball RBI (from Ryan Zimmerman).

Lannan retired the Pirates in order in the fourth, fifth and sixth. The Pirates pushed themselves on top in the seventh. Matt Diaz and Neil Walker singled to put runners on the corners with no one out. Josh Harrison hit into a run scoring double play, making it 3-2 Bucs.

Daniel McCutchen replaced Lincoln for the seventh. He got two quick outs before walking back-to-back hitters. But he caught Ryan Zimmerman looking to end the inning.

The bottom of the eighth wouldn’t go so well for the visitors. Chris Resop started the frame and plunked Michael Morse. Former Pirate Brian Bixler pinch ran for him. After getting Werth to fly out harmlessly, Tony Watson entered in place of Resop. Watson walked Ankiel. Bixler and Ankiel pulled off a double steal with Fryer’s throw getting away from Wood at third, allowing Bixler to scamper home with the tying run. Wilson Ramos walked. Watson struck out Ian Desmond. But pinch hitter Ivan Rodriguez singled in Ankeil to put the Nats up 4-3.

Drew Storen retired the side in the ninth after Ryan Mattheus did the same in the eighth for Washington.

Watson suffered the loss. He is 0-1. Mattheus notched his first Big League win. Lincoln went six innings and gave up two runs on four hits and three walks. He struck out four. Lannan went seven innings and gave up all three Pirate runs. He surrendered six hits. He whiffed one and walked none. Storen earned his 20th save.

The Good
No complaints about Lincoln’s results.

McCutchen had three hits and D’Arnaud had a pair.

The Bad
Fryer had his first ML hit but committed a costly error.

The bullpen has been solid this year. They bent and broke.

The Rest
Lincoln gave up five earned runs in six innings in his lone prior start against Washington. This was Lannan’s ninth career start against Pittsburgh. He remains 1-4 against them.

Bucs are 42-41 through 83 games. In 2010 they were 30-53. Their record after 2009 was 37-46.

Lincoln’s last start was a loss to San Diego on 7/25/10. He made two relief appearances in September.

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Unfortunately, a young team is going to lose games in this manner. It’s part of the process. But it was painful to watch. The National’s announcers referred to Bixler’s speed as blinding! A good throw to third nails him by 5 feet. I heard no mention on his bat!

Josh Harrison wasn’t even in the game in the 8th…

Next: what to do with Lincoln. Solid start.

Hurdle overmanaged the 8th.

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