McDonald dominant; McCutchen, Barajas continue to kill Nats

McDonald dominant; McCutchen, Barajas continue to kill Nats
Andrew McCutchen entered today hitting .439 in 23 career games against the Nationals. Rod Barajas came into tonight's game batting just .188 on the season, but was the one who smacked the walk-off two-run home run off Henry Rodriguez last week. Both guys continued terrorizing the Nats tonight. McCutchen smacked a solo homer off Jordan Zimmermann in the first inning to put the Pirates up 1-0. The blast gave him a ridiculous nine homers and 20 RBIs in 23 games against Washington. Those are...
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Strasburg must love the Pirates (Nats win 4-2)

Strasburg must love the Pirates (Nats win 4-2)
I have a feeling most pitchers enjoy facing the Pirates. They've scored by far the fewest runs in the majors and are hitting just .227 as a team. Any pitcher would love to go against that group. Stephen Strasburg really, really loves to face Pittsburgh. Strasburg has struck out seven straight Bucs hitters, and has faced the minimum as we go to the fourth inning. Dating back to his last start against the Pirates - which just happened to be his dazzling major league debut - Strasburg has...
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Bernadina hitting second, Espinosa hitting sixth

Bernadina hitting second, Espinosa hitting sixth
Davey Johnson has made a couple lineup changes, all right. The Nationals' skipper has tweaked his batting order for tonight's series finale against the Pirates, putting Roger Bernadina in the No. 2 spot and dropping Bryce Harper to fifth. Danny Espinosa will start at second base tonight and will protect Harper in the order, hitting sixth. This is now the fourth spot in the lineup that Harper has at-bats. He's previously hit seventh, third and second. Here are the lineups for both...
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Blown chances plague Nats in 4-2 loss

Blown chances plague Nats in 4-2 loss
You'd think the Nationals caught a break when Pirates starter Erik Bedard, who entered the game with a 2.65 ERA, was pulled after just an inning-plus due to a back injury. That left the Nats eight innings to battle against Pittsburgh's bullpen. You'd think the Nats would have a decent shot at tying the game when they loaded the bases with just one out in the eighth, trailing 3-2. You'd think that if a Washington starter (Ross Detwiler, for example) allowed three runs in six innings - a...
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Wacky third inning puts Nats in a hole (instant update)

Wacky third inning puts Nats in a hole (instant update)
We had a strikeout of the pitcher, who then reached on a wild pitch. We had a ball deflect off Ross Detwiler and go for a single. We had a 5-2-6 putout in which a runner was tagged out trying to score. We had a runner score from second on an infield single. Yeah, it was a strange bottom of the third inning. The Pirates lead 3-0 after three, and despite the fact that Pittsburgh starter Erik Bedard was pulled in the top of the second inning due to an apparent injury, the Nats still don't...
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Moore to start in left field, Harper to center

Moore to start in left field, Harper to center
Those wanting Tyler Moore to get a shot at more playing time, here you go. Moore will start in left field and hit seventh for the Nationals in tonight's game against the Pirates. It will be the rookie's second major league start, both of which will have been in left. With the Nats facing a left-hander in Erik Bedard, Davey Johnson is going with a lineup stacked with right-handed hitters. He'll put Moore in left and Xavier Nady in right field, with Bryce Harper moving over to center and...
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Rodriguez's blown save costs Nats

Rodriguez's blown save costs Nats
Adam LaRoche was all set up to be the hero tonight, as his two-run homer leading off the ninth - the 1,000th home run in Nationals team history - gave the Nats a 4-3 lead. Then Henry Rodriguez got the road jitters yet again. Rodriguez allowed a walk-off, two-run homer to Rod Barajas (a .141 hitter this season), giving the Pirates a shocking 5-4 win. It's Rodriguez's second blown save on the season, both of which have come on the road. Rodriguez hasn't allowed a run and has given up just...
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Jackson done after seven strong (Nats come back in ninth)

Jackson done after seven strong (Nats come back in ninth)
Outside of the two long solo homers allowed by Edwin Jackson tonight, he really delivered a strong outing. The Nationals starter went seven innings, allowing just the two solo shots to Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones in the fourth inning. He gave up just three Pirates hits, walked one and struck out five. The pitches to McCutchen and Jones were both demolished, but little else tonight was hit hard by Pirates hitters. Unfortunately for Jackson, he finds himself in a tie game as he watches...
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Rodriguez's pinch-hit RBI single finishes off Pirates in nightcap, 4-3

Rodriguez's pinch-hit RBI single finishes off Pirates in nightcap, 4-3
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...
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Johnson still has confidence in Burnett after loss to Pirates in Game 1

Johnson still has confidence in Burnett after loss to Pirates in Game 1
The Nationals dropped the doubleheader opener to the Pirates, 5-3, on a pair of home runs in the late innings that broke open a close contest. Livan Hernandez had kept the Nationals close, but unlike Friday, it was Pittsburgh that had the late game heroics. Manager Davey Johnson was pleased with the way Hernandez stayed in the game. He was able to get to the eighth inning, but Sean Burnett allowed two home runs that ended up deciding the game. "(Hernandez) battled them," Johnson said. "I...
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Gorzelanny's seven innings finally pays off for Nationals

Gorzelanny's seven innings finally pays off for Nationals
This game could have very easily gotten away from starter Tom Gorzelanny. But Gorzelanny beared down when it mattered most, notching eight strikeouts, most of them in the game's deciding moments. Because of his seven innings and only one unearned run allowed, the Nationals were in the game they eventually won in the bottom of the ninth, 2-1, over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park. The best chance the Pirates had of a big inning occurred in the third when mistakes by Gorzelanny and...
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Lannan learning to battle through early adversity

Lannan learning to battle through early adversity
Nationals' left-hander John Lannan fought through Monday night's start against the Pittsburgh Pirates when everything wasn't clicking like he had hoped. He was giving up base hits. His fastball wasn't locating, ending up high in the zone. The Pirates had chances to blow the game open early. "I felt good but I was just up," Lannan said. "I told myself to take a deep breath and get down. That is where I am most effective and that is where I am going to get groundballs. That is what I...
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Espinosa makes Pirates "right move" look so wrong

Espinosa makes Pirates "right move" look so wrong
Playing the percentages, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle pulled starting left-handed pitcher Paul Maholm in the bottom of the seventh inning in a 2-2 game. Hurdle brought in right-handed reliever Jose Ascanio to face Nationals switch-hitting second baseman Danny Espinosa, who has had only three hits in his last nine games and was 0-for-2 Monday night. Danny Espinosa talks about his strong at-bats in the Nationals' win Espinosa, switching over to bat left-handed, saw the move being made and...
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