The Bucs and Nats took each other on for the second game of the three game series, with Erik Bedard taking the hill against Ross Detwiler.
Bedard was dealing from the start, throwing just 5 pitches in the first and getting all three outs on ground balls to second base. Adam LaRoche lead off the second, and Bedard had to leave the game in the middle of the at-bat. Thankfully, it was reported that Bedard was only having back spasms, and not something more serious. He suffered the same injury a few years ago, and came back to pitch 9 days later. Brad Lincoln replaced Bedard, striking out LaRoche on just two pitches. The Pirates couldn’t get anything going in the first or second, while Lincoln pitched a 1-2-3 third. Lincoln struck out in the bottom half, but reached on the dropped third strike. Jose Tabata followed with a liner up the middle that deflected off Detwiler and went into right field. Lincoln never slowed down and got to third, putting runners on the corners. Neil Walker followed up with an RBI single, and Tabata went first to third again. Andrew McCutchen followed with an RBI single of his own, moving Walker to third and making it 2-0 Pirates. Pedro Alvarez, hitting in the cleanup spot again, grounded out to third base, but Ryan Zimmerman made a smart play to get Walker, who broke for the plate, in a run down and eventually get him out. So with Cutch on second and Pedro on first, Casey McGehee stepped up. He grounded one into the hole, and Ian Desmond fielded it backhand. He had no play at first, but Cutch touched third and kept on running home. Desmond hesitated, and McCutchen slid into home safely. A gutsy play, but it payed off and the Pirates had a 3-0 lead.
Desmond led off the fourth, and left fielder Yamaico Navarro robbed him of a home run. Lincoln then walked Bryce Harper, the first Nationals baserunner of the night. After Zimmerman struck out, LaRoche reached on an error to put runners on the corners. Former Bucco Xavier Nady lined one into right, getting Washington on the board to make it 3-1.
Jared Hughes relieved Lincoln in the fifth, and struck out the side swinging. He also pitched a scoreless sixth, and the score stayed 3-1 through six innings. Juan Cruz came out for the seventh and got himself into the Danger Zone. After giving up a leadoff double, Cruz let the runner advance on a wild pitch and walked Wilson Ramos. He was able to limit the damage though, just giving up a sac fly to Chad Tracy to make it 3-2.
Jason Grilli pitched the eighth, but with no shortage of excitement. He gave up a double and two walks to load the bases. He then struck out Danny Espinosa for the second out, and got Rick Ankiel to chase a high fastball for out number three and the SACK.
Just for insurance, Cutch smacked a solo shot into left field to make it 4-2, his second homer of the year. Joel Hanrahan came out for the save in the ninth, but with a heavy heart. His grandmother had just passed away, and he would be missing the next few games. But tonight, Joel had a job to do. He started out very wild, throwing what should have been four balls, but instead getting Ramos to ground out. His slider hit Steve Lombardozzi on the foot, and he gave up a double to Ian Desmond. 19 year old phenom Bryce Harper stepped up to the plate as the go-ahead run, but Hammer wasn’t afraid of him. He got him to pop up to short, and blew a fastball by Ryan Zimmerman to strike him out and pick up the save. You could rrrrrraise the Jolly Roger, 4-2 Pirates.
– Cutch went 4-4.
– Neil Walker only had one hit, but had a few good at-bats and looked good at the plate.
– The bullpen was awesome tonight, picking up Bedard and going 8 innings.
Star of the Game: Andrew McCutchen. He was single handedly responsible for scoring 2 runs, and went 4-4. Can’t ask for much more from your star player.
Goat of the Game: Danny Espinosa. He left 5 guys on base. The Pirates pitching was pretty good all night, so the Nats had to cash in on every chance they had. Espinosa didn’t help the cause.
The last game of the series is tomorrow night. Kevin Correia will try to get the sweep of the Nats, but will have to face the best young pitcher in the game, Stephen Strasburg. Bring your brooms to the park tomorrow, and watch the Bucs go for the sweep!
Pirates: (14-16) – Nationals (18-12)
Win: Lincoln (2-0)
Loss: Detwiler (3-2)
Save: Hanrahan (6)