Select Page
By Chad Carlson
Photo Credit: Greg Fiume/Getty Images
After an exciting game in the afternoon, the Buccos and Nationals were back at it again this evening for the second game of the teams’ doubleheader.  Unfortunately for the Pirates, missed opportunities, lack of defensive fundamentals, and errors assisted the Nationals, as they tallied a come-from-behind win over the Buccos 4-3.
Brad Lincoln made his first Major League start of the season for Pittsburgh, going six innings while giving up two runs on four this, while walking three and striking out four batters.  His mound opponent, Washington’s John Lannan, lasted seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits. 
The Nationals took the lead in the second inning.  After a leadoff walk to Jayson Werth, Lincoln gave up a single to Rick Ankiel, putting runners on first and third with one out.  Wilson Ramos then grounded out to shortstop, scoring Werth from third.
The lead wouldn’t last long, though, as the Pirates responded with two runs of their own in the third frame.  After Eric Fryer recorded his first Major League hit with a single to left field, Chase d’Arnaud singled him home, tying the game 1-1.  Andrew McCutchen broke the tie with an RBI double to deep right field, and the Bucs led 2-1. 
That was short lived as well, however, as the Nats responded immediately with a run of their own.  Lincoln walked Roger Bernadina, who would eventually score on Ryan Zimmerman’s fielder’s choice, tying the game 2-2 at the end of the third.
The Pirates took the lead in the seventh inning.  Matt Diaz singled, then moved over to third base on Neil Walker’s single.  Josh Harrison grounded into a double play, but Diaz was able to score on the play, giving the Bucs a 3-2 lead.
Daniel McCutchen nearly gave the lead away in the bottom half of the inning, but after walking Bernadina and Danny Espinosa, he struck out Zimmerman to end the frame.
The wheels fell off the Pirates’ bullpen in the eighth inning.  Entering the inning with a 3-2 lead, the Buccos gave up two runs.  Tony Watson was on the mound for both runs, though all the blame shouldn’t be placed on him.  Brian Bixler attempted to steal third base, and Eric Fryer’s throw to the bag was wild, bouncing off Brandon Wood.  Bixler scored on the play, tying the game.  Ivan Rodriguez broke the tie with an RBI single to shallow right, scoring Ankiel.
Drew Storen came in and shut down the Pirates in the ninth inning to record his 20th save of the season.  Watson suffered the loss for Pittsburgh, his first of the season.
This was a game the Pirates simply gave away.  While there is certainly plenty of blame to go around in this one, all cannot be placed on Watson.  The Pirates squandered a number of opportunities to stretch the lead in the latter innings.  Garrett Jones left two runners on in the seventh inning.  Neil Walker, while managing one hit tonight, still didn’t look comfortable at the plate.  His .246 batting average, and the fact that Clint Hurdle lowered him to sixth in the lineup, should tell us all something…Walker is struggling mightily.
Brad Lincoln did a pretty nice job for Pittsburgh tonight.  His fastball clocked up to 95 tonight, and he used it consistently throughout his six innings of work.  The three walks were certainly concerning, but he got out of a few jams effectively and kept the team in the game. 
Andrew McCutchen continued his hot streak tonight with three more hits, including a triple, double, and single, along with an RBI.  He was stranded on base all three times he reached.  His batting average now sis at .289 and is by far the team’s biggest threat, although it will be interesting to see if he’ll be in the lineup tomorrow afternoon.
The Buccos drop to one game over .500, and they continue to struggle against the Nationals in Washington.  Tomorrow is a huge game for Pittsburgh.  With a victory, it will secure them another winning road trip, will push them back to two games over .500, and will even things up with the Nationals this season.
Kevin Correia will make the start tomorrow afternoon for the Pirates, while the Nationals will send Jason Marquis to the mound. 
Record Vs. Nationals: 3-4
Record Vs. N.L. East: 9-14
Record On The Road: 23-21
Overall Record: 42-41
And…
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!