Pirates 5, Nationals 3
Andrew McCutchen won’t get to face the Washington Nationals
again this season. He’s sorry about it. They’re not.
McCutchen homered twice, James McDonald took a no-hitter into
the sixth inning and struck out a career-high 11, and the
Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Nationals 5-3 on Thursday night.
In five games against Washington this season, McCutchen went 10
for 17. He is batting .442 with 10 home runs in 23 career games
versus the Nationals.
”It’s a good place to hit,” McCutchen said. ”I really can’t
pinpoint it. I’m just hitting what they throw to me.”
According to Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, it doesn’t
matter how McCutchen is pitched.
”You pitch him away, and he hits it away,” Zimmerman said.
”He’s one of those special players that can do everything. He’s
fun to watch. I just wish we didn’t have to watch so much when we
Nationals manager Davey Johnson had a frustrating night watching
Jordan Zimmermann lose, his team flail at McDonald’s pitches for
the first five innings and McCutchen hit the two homers.
”We certainly haven’t figured out how to pitch him,” Johnson
said. ”He looks awful comfortable in there.”
As a rookie in 2009, McCutchen hit three home runs in a game
against the Nationals, and he nearly had three in this game. He had
solo shots against Zimmermann (2-4) in the first and sixth and
nearly had another homer in the third, but his long shot to left
went foul by a few feet.
McCutchen also made a beautiful catch in center field, robbing
Adam LaRoche of an extra-base hit in the fifth.
”That was an unbelievable catch,” McDonald said. ”That was
for sure a double off the wall.”
McDonald retired his first 13 batters – striking out nine – and
also was helped by a spectacular play from Casey McGehee at first
base. The right-hander walked Bryce Harper with one out in the
Carrying a 4-0 lead in the sixth, McDonald weakened and allowed
consecutive doubles to Jesus Flores and Steve Lombardozzi to start
the inning. Flores held at third because he wasn’t sure
Lombardozzi’s ball was going to drop. Zimmerman’s single drove in
both runners, and LaRoche’s triple scored Zimmerman.
”He went from no-no to oh no!” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle
said. ”It was good stuff for five innings, though. Really
McDonald (3-2) was pulled after 5 2-3 innings. He gave up three
runs and four hits with one walk.
Tony Watson retired the final batter of the sixth. Juan Cruz
pitched a scoreless seventh, Jason Grilli worked the eighth and
Joel Hanrahan the ninth for his eighth save in nine chances.
Zimmermann gave up a season-high four runs and seven hits in six
innings, walking one and striking out six.
”That’s the worst I’ve seen him with his command early in a
ballgame,” Johnson said. ”His location was off. He was all over
Zimmermann, who received two runs or fewer in six of his seven
previous starts, was backed by better offensive support than he
usually gets – three runs.
”We had runners on. We just couldn’t get a big hit,” Johnson
Washington left six runners on in the final four innings and had
runners on first and second with one out in the ninth, but
Pittsburgh third baseman Pedro Alvarez made a nice catch on
Lombardozzi’s foul ball near the third base stands.
Rod Barajas added a two-run homer in the fourth, his third. He
had three hits.
Neil Walker drove in the fifth run for Pittsburgh in the seventh
on an infield out.
NOTES: Nationals OF Michael Morse, who hasn’t played this season
because of an injured back muscle, will probably report to Viera,
Fla., early next week to begin playing in games, Johnson said. He
had hoped Morse would return to be the designated hitter when the
Nationals play in Boston on June 8, but Morse told Johnson he could
play a week earlier. … Washington INF Mark DeRosa is probably a
week from returning from a left oblique strain, Johnson said. …
The Nationals play a three-game series against the Orioles
beginning Friday. Washington RHP Edwin Jackson pitches against RHP
Jake Arrieta. … The Pirates open a three-game series in Detroit
on Friday. Pittsburgh will send RHP Charlie Morton to the mound
against Justin Verlander.