The Nationals used three solo homers and a critical error to earn a sweep of the Pirates. It took a couple of months, but the Pirates are in last place.
Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham connected for solo blasts in the fourth inning to give Washington starter Livan Hernandez a lead he would lose. Pirates starter Zach Duke retired 10 of the first 11 hitters before giving up two bombs.
Dunn continued to play the thorn in the fifth frame. He singled with two outs and moved to second on a balk. Andy LaRoche threw wildly to first on a grounder from Ryan Zimmerman allowing Dunn to score.
The Pirates had some opportunities but were unable to come up with a big hit. Jason Jaramillo reached third with one out in the third. But he didn’t score. The Pirates broke through in the sixth but left ducks on the bond. Consecutive doubles from Duke and Jose Tabata pushed one run across. Neil Walker’s single pushed Tabata to third and he score on a sac fly from Andrew McCutchen to make it 3-2. After Garrett Jones walked – putting runners at first and second with one out – the Pirates failed to advance any more runners.
Michael Morse homered in the 8th off of Brendan Donnelley to give the Nats an extra cushion. The Pirates collected a hit in each of the final three frames but were unsuccessful in scoring.
Duke gave up three runs – two earned – in five plus innings. He gave up eight hits. Hernandez gave up three doubles, two singles and two walks in six innings to get the win. Tyler Clippard earned the save with a scoreless ninth.
Duke wasn’t horrible. He loaded the bases in the sixth with none out and was pulled in favor of Evan Meek, who put out the fire with no damage done.
Jason Jaramillo – continuing to start at catcher – had two hits.
Being in the cellar.
Jaramillo started at C while Doumit was back in the lineup at 1B while recovering after taking a foul tip off the mask.
Tabata extended his hitting streak to two games.
Former Bucco Sean Burnett tossed two scoreless innings out of the bullpen. He continues to pitch effectively. Former Bucco Nyjer Morgan didn’t start and was 0-1 as PH and late inning defensive replacement.
LaRoche has the most errors of any 3B in the Majors.
Duke is 1-6 with an ERA over 6.50 in his last nine starts. He is now 1-2 against Washington. Hernandez is now 5-4 against the Pirates. His win in the finale was the 161st of his career, pushing him past HOFer Addie Joss for career wins. Only three active pitchers have more career wins – Jamie Moyer, Andy Pettite and Tim Wakefield.