Pirates 4, Nationals 2

Clint Hurdle’s advice to Brandon Wood on his Pittsburgh Pirates

debut?

”I told him, ‘Don’t put a lot of weight in making a first

impression,” the manager said before Monday’s game.

Wood ending up impressing his new teammates and fans,

anyway.

Wood’s two-run double in his first game for Pittsburgh was part

of a four-run fourth inning that gave the Pirates their first lead.

They defeated the Washington Nationals 4-2 in front of a sparse

crowd at soggy PNC Park on Monday.

”It’s nice you get the first hit and the first couple RBIs out

of the way and can just go play some baseball from here,” said

Wood, picked up on waivers from the Los Angeles Angels on

Friday.

”It’s just one game and you never know how things go,” Wood

added. ”I’m just going to keep the same mentality and just have

fun. The guys were great. I’m fortunate to be around these guys

because that was some fun coming through the dugout after that

hit.”

Paul Maholm retired the final 13 batters he faced in seven

strong innings as Pittsburgh made up the original series opener

that was postponed by rain on Friday.

Announced paid attendance was 12,457, but only about 2,600 made

it through the turnstiles on what wasn’t originally a scheduled

game night. Also contributing to the poor showing was rain that

caused a 21-minute delay and a Penguins playoff game at the same

time.

Maholm (1-3) allowed four hits and two walks with eight

strikeouts in winning for the first time this season. After Adam

LaRoche’s two-run single in the first inning, Maholm faced only two

over the minimum the rest of the way.

Six of the 15 runs Maholm has allowed this season have come in

the first inning. Monday, he came out of the fourth-inning rain

delay better than Washington’s John Lannan. The Pirates entered it

behind but Maholm did not allow a baserunner thereafter.

”The first inning, I missed two pitches,” Maholm said. ”I

just made sure they didn’t get anymore. I was mixing speeds and

mixing pitches and just let the defense do some work.”

Maholm said he relaxed in the clubhouse and watched the

Penguins-Lightning hockey game during the delay. Lannan (2-2) rode

a stationary bike but emerged to promptly walk Steve Pearce and

allow Wood’s double, erasing the Nationals’ lead.

”I was shocked … but it doesn’t matter because you’ve got to

make pitches and I didn’t,” Lannan said. ”I got too many balls up

in the strike zone.”

Maholm beat the Nationals for the first time in eight career

starts and tied Zach Duke as PNC Park’s all-time wins leader with

31.

Evan Meek worked a perfect eighth, and Joel Hanrahan struck out

pinch-hitter Rick Ankiel looking with runners on first and third

and two outs in the ninth to finish his sixth save.

Making his 100th career start, Lannan allowed only one hit

before a one-out walk to Jose Tabata in the fourth. With two outs

and Tabata at second, Neil Walker singled to right.

On Sunday, Jayson Werth threw Andrew McCutchen out at the plate

to end the game, but his throw home this time was up the third base

line and got past catcher Wilson Ramos.

Lannan went 0-1 on Pearce before the rain. Wood’s double was

second hard-hit ball to right-center of the game. The first was

caught on the run by Werth in the second inning, but this one

one-hopped the wall.

Wood, a former top prospect who hit .168 in 173 games with the

Angels over five seasons, had no RBIs in 15 at-bats this

season.

”He looked pretty comfortable, especially the first swing you

put on the ball and drive it to right-center,” Hurdle said. ”He

just didn’t quite flush that one but got a good swing on it. He

caught the next one right on the barrel.”

Lannan was charged with four runs on five hits and two walks

with three strikeouts in 5 2-3 innings. He had a five-game road

winning streak snapped. The Nationals had Lannan’s past six road

outings since last season.

The second-worst hitting team in the majors, Washington had only

five hits one day after breaking out with a season-high 15.

”I know the players are a little frustrated with the hitting,”

manager Jim Riggleman said. ”I know I’m repeating myself, but

we’ve got to win the ballgame anyway. We can’t only win when we

hit.”

Notes: Washington had two errors to make it eight in the series

after having only 12 over the first 18 games. … SS Brian Bixler

made his Nationals debut, going 0 for 3. … Walker had two hits to

give him five in his past two games. … LaRoche has reached base

in 17 of 19 games this season.