The Nationals new field manager continues to push the right buttons and his team again finds a way to come back late in the game for another stunning victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-3, before 39,638 at Nationals Park, earning a split of the Saturday double dip.
Davey Johnson pinch hit veteran Ivan Rodriguez in the bottom of the eighth inning with two men on. He battled Pirates reliever Tony Watson for an RBI single that scored Rick Ankiel with the eventual winning run.
Drew Storen pitched a scoreless ninth for his 20th save.
Pittsburgh had grabbed the lead in the seventh inning following on an RBI double play grounder off the bat of Josh Harrison, and the Pirates led, 3-2.
Right-hander Brad Lincoln, who was making his initial start of the season for the Pirates, was promoted from Triple-A Indianapolis prior to the nightcap. Lincoln delivered an impressive start, pitching six innings, allowing only two runs on four hits, with three walks and four strikeouts.
Nationals starter John Lannan stayed with Lincoln pitch-for-pitch, allowing just three runs on six hits, no walks, one strikeout in seven innings. He had to throw only 80 pitches, 58 of those for strikes.
The Pirates got to Lannan in the third inning, beginning with the first major league base hit for catcher Eric Fryer. After a sacrifice and a ground out, Pittsburgh got back-to-back RBI hits from Chase d’Arnaud and Andrew McCutchen. D’Arnaud’s base hit made it 1-nothing and McCutchen’s double scored another run. The Pirates were up, 2-0.
The Nationals scored runs in the second and third off of Lincoln. After one out in the second, Jayson Werth walked and Rick Ankiel’s base hit got him in scoring position. A Wilson Ramos ground out scored Werth and the Pirates lead was cut in half, 2-1. Another walk hurt Lincoln in the third, this time to Roger Bernadina. Danny Espinosa followed with a single and Ryan Zimmerman’s RBI ground out tied the contest at two.