Today’s rubber game of a 3-game series against the Nationals started with a Pirates lead, stayed close for most of the game, but ultimately ended in a 6-2 loss. Gio Gonzalez took the win while Wandy Rodriguez received the loss.
Wandy put the Nats down in order in the 1st inning before starting the 2nd inning by walking Ryan Zimmerman and giving up a double to Adam LaRoche. He struck out the next batter, Tyler Moore, before giving up a sacrifice fly to Danny Espinosa, scoring Zimmerman and tying the game at 1. Another strikeout ended the inning.
Danny Espinosa wasn’t done yet, though. In the 4th inning, with Ryan Zimmerman on 2nd base and 2 outs, Espinosa hit a homerun right over my head (I’m wearing the Sanchez shirsey), putting the Nats ahead, 3-1. Wandy pitched 6 innings, throwing 117 pitches and giving up 3 earned runs on 6 hits and a walk while striking out 7. He left the game with the Pirates still having a chance.
Jose Contreras made his Pirates debut in the 7th inning. After giving up a leadoff single to Wilson Ramos, Contreras got the next batter to bunt pop out before striking out the last two batters. Bryan Morris came in to pitch the 8th inning. After a bunt single by Roger Bernadina, he got Ryan Zimmerman to ground out before intentionally walking Adam LaRoche.
He would have been better off taking his chances with LaRoche. Tyler Moore hit a 3-run homerun to left, making it 6-2 Nats. Vin Mazzaro pitched a scoreless 9th, giving up just one hit.
From the Pirates’ side, the game started with a bang, and the ending was a bit of a surprise. Starling Marte hit Gio Gonzalez’s first pitch of the game to left for a homerun. Jordy Mercer doubled 2 pitches later, Andrew McCutchen reached on an error, and Gaby Sanchez walked to load the bases with no outs. However, 2 strikeouts and a groundout later, Gio was out of the inning and the Pirates hadn’t scored a run. From then on, the Pirates couldn’t manage more than one baserunner an inning until the 6th. Gaby Sanchez led off the 6th with a single, and Russell Martin scored him with a double. That was it for the Buccos though. Aside from Brandon Inge’s 9th-inning double, the Pirates didn’t get a hit off the Nats’ bullpen.
The Pirates dropped to 17-14 with today’s loss and fell to 3rd place in the NL Central, half a game behind the Reds. After an off day tomorrow, the 15-18 Seattle Mariners come to town. James McDonald (2-2, 5.76 ERA) will face Aaron Harang (1-3, 8.68 ERA).