Nationals 6, Pirates 3

Mike Morse didn’t lose confidence during a sub-.200 start three

weeks into the season. The rest of the Washington Nationals lineup

maintains it hasn’t, either.

Morse had a three-run homer among his three-hits, Adam LaRoche

also homered and the Nationals had a season-high 15 hits in beating

the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-3 on Sunday.

Morse broke out last season with 15 home runs in only 266

at-bats but had only one extra-base hit through 17 games this

season. Washington’s offense ranked next-to-last in the majors in

batting average over that same span.

Washington’s six runs were more than the total they had scored

during a three-game losing streak.

”We’ve got a lot of good players; we’re going to win our share

of games,” Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. ”When we’re

hitting on all cylinders, we’ll be fine. But we’ve got to win games

when we’re not hitting on all cylinders.”

Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth threw out Andrew McCutchen

at home plate to end the game. McCutchen threw his helmet to the

ground in disgust and manager Clint Hurdle argued with umpire

Kerwin Danley.

Morse’s drive was his first of the season and came during the

Nationals’ four-run third inning that helped Jason Marquis win his

second consecutive start and his fifth straight decision against

Pittsburgh since 2008.

Danny Espinosa had three hits with a run and Marquis (2-0) also

had two hits to raise his season average to .400 for


Neil Walker had three hits and an RBI for the Pirates, who have

lost four of five.

Drew Storen earned his third save – all coming in his last three


Morse took a 2-2 pitch from Kevin Correia to left with Rick

Ankiel and Werth aboard in the third.

”Absolutely, I’ve kept my confidence,” Morse said. ”That’s

one thing I won’t lose is confidence in myself.

”I saw a pitch and I hit it,” he said. ”It was a fastball and

I got a good part of the barrel and it went out.”

The two-out clout came after it appeared as if Correia would

escape a bases-loaded jam with none out by allowing only one run on

a grounder.

LaRoche, a former Pirates player, led off the fifth with his

third homer, to right, to make it 5-3.

”You look at the averages right now, and it’s not real good and

there’s not a ton of guys on base,” LaRoche said. ”I don’t think

you’re ever going to have everybody clicking at once, but if we can

get the majority of the guys going and getting a lot of guys on

base, we’ve shown we’ve got one-through-nine today that can drive

in runs.”

Marquis continued the Nationals’ season-long streak of their

starters going at least five innings by allowing three runs on

eight hits and two walks in six innings. Marquis, who had two

strikeouts, has more wins against the Pirates (12) than any other

team. He has won nine of his past 11 decisions against


”I felt like I was getting better as the game went on,”

Marquis said. ”Felt like my stuff was getting better, felt like I

was getting stronger.”

Correia (3-2) failed in his first attempt at becoming the first

Pirates pitcher to win four games in April since Jeff Suppan in

2003. He fell to 0-2 at home by allowing five runs on 11 hits and a

walk in 4 2-3 innings with two strikeouts.

Pittsburgh has scored more runs in the first than any other

inning this season. After scoring five in a 7-2 win over Washington

on Saturday, Walker gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead Sunday with a

one-out single that drove in McCutchen.

Pittsburgh scored twice in the fourth on Chris Snyder’s

sacrifice fly and Ronny Cedeno’s RBI double.

”We had a pretty good inning. … We felt like we were in the

game the whole time today but we weren’t just able to get those few

extra runs,” McCutchen said. ”We got the short end of the stick


On getting thrown out at the plate to end the game with his team

down three runs, McCutchen shrugged it off and refused to elaborate

on whether he believed he was safe.

Hurdle didn’t criticize the decision.

”You never want to make the last out at home, but sometimes

those things are going to happen,” Hurdle said. ”It’s not a

perfect world, it’s not a perfect game, but our mentality is to

play aggressive.”

NOTES: The Nationals activated RHP Todd Coffey (strained left

calf) from the 15-day DL. … Two days after a postponement and a

day after the start of the game was delayed by 1 hour, 11 minutes,

neither team was able to take batting practice Sunday because of

morning rain. Although it was dry at first pitch, a light rain

began to fall during the third inning and lasted throughout much of

the remainder of the game. … Washington’s Jerry Hairston and Ivan

Rodriguez each had two hits. … The first Easter game in

Pittsburgh since 2006 drew only 9,520.