The Pirates looked for a series sweep on Thursday afternoon in DC. While they came up short, they didn’t go down without a fight.
A.J. Burnett gave up four runs in the first inning, although only one of them was earned. The Bucco defense has been sharp all season, but three costly errors by Pedro Alvarez, Gaby Sanchez, and Jordy Mercer put them in an early hole.
The Bucs started chipping away in the fourth inning, as Burnett helped his own cause with an RBI groundout.
Two innings later, Josh Harrison (of all people) belted a two-run homer. More on J-Hay in a bit.
With their lead down to one run, the Nationals appeared to pull away in the eighth inning with three runs off Vin Mazzaro. Steve Lombardozzi lined a ground-rule double to bring home Roger Bernadina, then Adam LaRoche knocked in two more with a triple that slipped under Travis Snider and rolled to the wall.
However, the Pirates weren’t dead just yet. Nats closer Rafael Soriano – who hadn’t pitched in five days – entered the game, even though it was a non-save situation. Here’s how the crazy top of the ninth played out:
Neil Walker walked.
Starling Marte walked.
Jordy Mercer doubled, Walker scored. 7-4
Andrew McCutchen struck out.
Russell Martin singled, Marte scored. 7-5
– Ian Krol replaced Soriano –
Pedro Alvarez walked (bases loaded).
Jose Tabata struck out.
Josh Harrison singled, Mercer & Martin scored. 7-7
Garrett Jones struck out.
Huge four-run comeback for the Bucs, and how about Josh Harrison? Two-out, two-run single to tie the ballgame.
Tough one to lose, but you have to appreciate the fight they showed in the ninth inning. Still a good series win in Washington.
Pirates (60-40) – Nationals (49-53)
Win: Krol (1-0)
Loss: Morris (4-4)