The Pittsburgh Pirates make winning look easy for the NL East-leading Washington Nationals, dropping their first game of the three game series 8-4.

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FINAL: Washington Nationals 8 Pittsburgh Pirates 4

W – Stephen Strasburg (4-1)   L – Chad Kuhl (1-4) 

Takeaways

  • Josh Harrison‘s acrobatics while base-running. The man is practicing straight-up witchcraft in the dirt. While stretching a 6th inning hit to left field into a double, it appeared he’d been got sliding into second. Harrison popped up early, somehow avoided the tag while stabbing the base with his cleat and was called safe. The Nats challenged, but the call stood.
  • Seventh Inning Rally – The Nationals didn’t want to go to their bullpen in the seventh and it’s easy to see why. Nats starter Stephen Strasburg gave up a double to Josh Bell the walked Cervelli to finally put the nails in his coffin for the night. Matt Albers entered and gave up a single to Jordy Mercer to load the bases. Jose Osuna, pinch hitting for Pirates reliever Johnny Barbato, hit into what looked like an easy double play – only a throwing error by Nats first baseman Ryan Zimmerman allowed Bell and Cervelli to score, bringing the score to 6-3. A pitching change to Oliver Perez couldn’t prevent a bloop from Adam Frazier eeking through to centerfielder Michael Taylor, allowing Mercer to score and bringing the Bucs to within 2.

Throwaways

  • Right Field – I’m not among the crowd that loves to hate on John Jaso, so don’t expect a lot of hot fire here. That said, the guy is playing an unfamiliar position and has the speed of a catcher. That equals continued frustration with the Pirates outfield when he’s in it. If you want to throw some shade about outfield performance, remember that originally Andrew McCutchen was slated to play right field this season and Starling Marte was slated to play center. So, if you’re looking to play the blame game, maybe you could start with the guy who created this situation requiring a replacement in right in the first place.
  • Another short outing for Chad Kuhl. In 4 innings, he gave up 6 earned runs on 10 hits, walked 1 and struck out 3, throwing a total of 89 pitches. Aside from the obvious need to settle down, with the absence of Jameson Taillon, Kuhl must give the team a few more innings from each start to keep that bullpen fresh. Or maybe he’d work better out of it to begin with.
  • Hurdle pulled Cutch for a double-switch in the 8th, resulting in an outfield consisting of Osuna, Frazier and Jaso – three guys who aren’t outfielders.

Line of the Night

Josh Harrison gave the Pirates a few reasons to smile tonight startig with a homer in the first. He went 2 for 4 tonight, hitting that home run, a double and one RBI. And again with the majesty in the 6th…

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Up Next

The Pirates take on game two in this three-game series versus the Nationals. Gerrit Cole will work to continue his fantastic season that is not necessarily reflected in the controversial wins record against a Nationals pitcher to be announced.

 

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Joy Frank-Collins

Joy Frank-Collins is a Communications professional who got her start writing as a journalist at a daily newspaper in southeastern Ohio. She was born in Reds country, but "found" baseball watching the 1986 Mets win the World Series. She lives in Marietta, Ohio, with her family, who all share her passion for Pirates baseball. She loves the suicide squeeze, a crisp 6-4-3 double play and catchers (especially Russell Martin). When not obsessing over baseball, Joy likes to work out, travel and drink wine. Check her out on Instagram @JoyFC