Marte's homer in 18th inning lifts Pirates over Nationals

Pittsburgh Pirates' Starling Marte, right, celebrates his home run with Jonathon Niese (18) during the 18th inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Sunday, July 17, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/AP

WASHINGTON (AP) Starling Marte hit a solo home run in the 18th inning and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Washington Nationals 2-1 Sunday in a marathon game that lasted almost six hours.

Pinch-hitter Daniel Murphy homered with two outs in the ninth inning for Washington, and it took a long while until anyone scored again.

Marte's seventh home run of the season helped end the series finale and the Pirates avoid getting swept by the NL East leaders. The only longer game in the majors this season came July 1 when Cleveland beat Toronto in 19 innings.

Marte made sure this wouldn't go 19 by taking the first pitch from Oliver Perez (2-3) and sending it into the seats in left field. Jonathon Niese (8-6) survived a couple of singles to get the victory.

It was the longest regular-season game since the Montreal Expos moved to Washington and became the Nationals. The Nationals lost an 18-inning game to San Francisco in the 2014 playoffs.