Stallings' pinch single in 11th lifts Pirates over Nats 6-5
Washington Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman, left, celebrates with Anthony Rendon after scoring on a bases-loaded walk by Jayson Werth off Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Jared Hughes in the sixth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Friday, Sept. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
PITTSBURGH (AP) Rookie Jacob Stallings' pinch-hit single in the 11th inning lifted the Pittsburgh Pirates over Washington 6-5 on Friday night, preventing the Nationals from clinching a postseason berth.
Pittsburgh loaded the bases with one out against Yusmiero Petit (3-5) when Francisco Cervelli doubled, Andrew McCutchen was intentionally walked and Pedro Florimon walked. Sean Rodriguez struck out and Stalling, a son of University of Pittsburgh men's basketball coach Kevin Stallings, grounded a 3-2 pitch into left field.
Pittsburgh's seventh win in nine games kept the Pirates on the fringe of the NL wild-card race.
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Washington lost for the fifth time in six games. The Nationals have magic numbers of one for a playoff berth and two for an NL East title.
Rodriguez's two-out RBI double in the ninth inning tied the score 5-5. Mark Melancon blew a save for the first time in 13 chances since he was acquired from Pittsburgh on July 30.
Wilson Ramos and Danny Espinosa homered for the Nationals. Bryce Harper had three hits and Ryan Zimmerman hit a pair of doubles.
Zimmerman's RBI double in the second inning opened the scoring and was the 1,500th hit of his 12-year big league career. Espinosa followed with 23rd homer for a 3-0 lead.
Ramos led off a two-run sixth with his 22nd homer, a drive off Antonio Bastardo. Jayson Werth drew a bases-loaded walk later in the inning as the Nationals went back ahead 5-3.
Adam Frazier had a sacrifice fly in the bottom of half.
Pirates left fielder Gregory Polanco left the game in the first inning when bruised the left side of his face when crashing into the fence while chasing a double by Harper.
Both starters, Washington left-hander Gio Gonzalez and Pittsburgh rookie Jameson Taillon, allowed three runs in five innings.
''It's kind of odd to be back here with another team but it's good to be back,'' he said before the game. ''We made a lot of good memories and there are a lot of great sports fans here.''
A brief video tribute was played on the scoreboard when Melancon entered the game.
First baseman/outfielder Josh Bell is the Pirates' minor league player of the year and right-hander Mitch Keller their minor league pitcher of the year. Bell hit .295 with 14 home runs in 114 games for Triple-A Indianapolis before being promoted to the major leagues. Keller went a combined 9-5 with a 2.35 ERA in 24 starts at Class A with West Virginia and Bradenton.
Nationals: 2B Daniel Murphy did not start for a fifth game in a row after an MRI revealed a strained glute muscle. He will sit out the three-game series be reevaluated.
Pirates: RHP A.J. Schugel (shoulder inflammation) was placed on the 60-day disabled list, opening a roster spot for LHP Phil Coke, who joined the team after being acquired Thursday from the New York Yankees. . LF Starling Marte (back) sat out after being removed from Thursday night's loss at Milwaukee in the third inning. He missed 15 games before pinch hitting against the Brewers on Wednesday night. . SS Jordy Mercer (right forearm tightness) missed his second straight game.
Nationals: RHP Joe Ross (7-5, 3.48 ERA) will start Saturday night, his second outing since missing 2 1/2 months with shoulder inflammation. He pitched three innings and gave up one run last Sunday against Atlanta in a no-decision.
Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (12-7, 4.19) is 5-1 with a 2.93 ERA in nine starts since being acquired Aug. 1 from the New York Yankees in a trade. He took his first loss with the Pirates last Sunday, allowing five runs in three innings against Cincinnati.