Pirates 10, Nationals 2

The Pittsburgh Pirates didn’t need their All-Star on Sunday. The

closer is superfluous when it’s an eight-run game.

Instead, a pair of maybe-could-have-beens again made the case

that, perhaps, these Pirates are deserving of more attention than

the black-and-gold teams of recent past.

Kevin Correia won his 11th game, and Andrew McCutchen had three

hits to cap a prolific series as Pittsburgh cruised to a 10-2 win

over the Washington Nationals.

Pittsburgh will wake up on the Fourth of July with a winning

record for the first time since 1999. Correia’s nine road victories

are tops in baseball. McCutchen had nine hits, including six for

extra bases, in the four-game series to raise his average to .294.

If they were anyone but the Pirates, perhaps there would be three

All-Stars instead of just reliever Joel Hanrahan, who earned the

team’s lone nod when the selections were announced earlier in the

day.

”It’s up to us to change that,” McCutchen said. ”The majority

of people look at us as just being ‘the Pirates,’ and they’re going

to say it’s ‘the Pirates’ until we show a difference. That’s just

fuel for the fire for us as a team to continue surprising teams

every time we show up. Win a series here, win a series there. Sweep

a team here, sweep a team there. Next thing you know they’re going,

‘Hey, these Pirates are the real deal.”’

Correia (11-6) allowed two runs and six hits over six innings to

become the first Pirates pitcher to win 11 games before the

All-Star break since Jim Bibby in 1980. He’s tied for the majors

lead in wins with Jair Jurrjens, Roy Halladay, C.C. Sabathia and

Justin Verlander.

Correia said he was more focused on his start than the All-Star

selection show, but he likes that the club was at least in the mix

for more than one spot.

”We had a few guys that deserved a look, and that’s good,”

Correia said. ”I don’t think this team’s had that in the past.

It’s been ‘a guy’s got to make it, so a guy goes.”’

Pittsburgh’s 10 runs matched a season-high as the club moved two

games over .500 for the ninth time this season, where they keep

hitting a barrier that so far has stopped them cold. They are 0-8

when trying to get to three games over.

The Pirates were due for a laugher after playing mostly tight

ones for much of the season. They scored three in the first, five

in the second. McCutchen had three hits and would have had four

were it not for Roger Bernadina’s diving catch on the warning track

in the left field corner.

”It’s nice for the bats to show up and have a feel-good day on

offense,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. ”But I think

we’re built more for the other. I don’t know how many more of these

we’ll get, but when we get ’em we’ll take ’em.”

The Pirates battered Jason Marquis (7-3), who lost for the first

time in eight starts. He lasted only 1 1-3 innings, allowing seven

runs and eight hits as the Nationals again fell below .500 and

dropped to 2-5 under manager Davey Johnson. Washington has already

allowed 10 or more runs twice under Johnson, matching the number

times it happened in 78 games under Jim Riggleman and John

McLaren.

”I don’t like to get beat,” Johnson said. ”It wasn’t any fun

today.”

Jayson Werth left the game after getting hit on the left arm by

a pitch in the sixth. He continued to struggle at the plate,

striking out with two outs and two men on base in the first and

flying out to center with a runner on base in the third to drop his

batting average to .223. The fans’ tepid reaction was much kinder

than it was on Saturday, when he was booed loudly during the second

game of a doubleheader.

Werth declined to speak to reporters for the second straight

day. Johnson said Werth is sore and will probably miss a day or

two.

Such nagging injuries are a mounting problem for the Nationals.

Michael Morse, the team’s best hitter, sat out Sunday with a

bruised forearm and will likely miss Monday’s game as well.

”I’m real concerned about it,” Johnson said. ”Nobody’s 100

percent.”

NOTES: There wasn’t much of a feeling that Hanrahan and Tyler

Clippard would be future All-Stars when they were part of the

Nationals bullpen in 2008 and 2009. On Sunday, they both were named

to the NL squad. Hanrahan has tied a Pirates record with 24

consecutive converted save chances. ”It is kind of ironic,”

Hanrahan said. ”I went into that (Washington) clubhouse plenty of

times hanging my head, looking for answers, trying to figure out

where my career was going – really searching for everything. To be

here now, riding high, hearing the announcement I made the All-Star

team – that’s really a good feeling.” Clippard didn’t figure he’d

have much of a shot because he’s a setup man, but he has 57

strikeouts, 15 walks and a 1.96 ERA for the Nationals. He has

allowed only 6 of 31 inherited runners to score. ”I knew there was

maybe an outside shot,” Clippard said. ”But I didn’t really take

it seriously and maybe that’s probably a good thing.” … Morse

will be on a fan ballot to determine the final NL All-Star spot.

… The Pirates sent RHP Brad Lincoln to Triple-A Indianapolis and

recalled RHP Chris Leroux. … Nationals 43-year-old first baseman

Matt Stairs beat out an infield hit in the first inning. He was

starting in the field for the first time since April 12.