Game Recap: Pirates Walk to Win Over Nationals

The Pirates beat the Nationals, 10-7, in a really bad, four-hour ballgame.  They had the benefit of ten walks and two errors, so maybe it’s more accurate to say the Nationals beat the Nationals.

Wil Crowe had the same start he always has.  He had a nice stretch but, inevitably, ran into a bad inning.  Crowe retired the first eight batters, then walked the pitcher before getting the third out in the third.  In the fourth, three straight singles loaded the bases with nobody out.  It looked like Crowe was going to escape the jam when he fanned the next two hitters, but Keibert Ruiz cleared the bases with a double to right-center.  Crowe left for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the inning.

Fortunately for baseball’s worst lineup, the Nationals absolutely insisted that they score runs.  The Pirates didn’t get a hit until two outs in the third when Colin Moran singled to right.  By then, rookie starter Josiah Gray had walked the bases loaded.  The second runner to the plate, Yoshi Tsutsugo, was called out, but the call was overturned on replay, putting the Pirates up, 2-0.

The Nats took the lead in the fourth with their three runs off Crowe.  In the fifth, they greeted Anthony Banda with two doubles and two singles, making the lead 5-2.

The Pirates finally got their second hit in the bottom of the fifth.  This one was Bryan Reynolds’ 23rd blast of the year and it came after Tsutsugo’s second walk.  Two batters later, Ben Gamel tied the game, 5-5, with his seventh homer of the year.

And the Nats kept on giving, as the game devolved into a battle of crappy bullpens.  In the sixth, reliever Alberto Baldonado walked the first two hitters.  Derek Shelton sent Kevin Newman up to pinch hit so he could try bunting again.  This was obviously the right strategy, making sure the Nats couldn’t walk another batter.  Newman got the bunt down this time and Ke’Bryan Hayes walked, which made the bunt irrelevant.  Tsutsugo struck out, but the Nats came through again, walking Reynolds to force in a run.  Moran then beat out an infield hit (?!) to bring in another run (it helped that nobody covered first), and Nats’ second baseman Luis Garcia booted Gamel’s easy grounder to let two more runs score.  So the Pirates had four hits and a 9-5 lead.

The teams traded runs in the seventh.  Chasen Shreve struggled through the top half, giving up a run and leaving the bases loaded.  The Pirates got that back when Hoy Park singled and Newman, who’d stayed in the game, doubled him in.

Shelby Miller served up a gopher ball to Ryan Zimmerman leading off the eighth, cutting the Pirates’ lead to 10-7.  That made it a save situation for Chris Stratton in the ninth and he mercifully had a 1-2-3 inning.

Park drew three walks and scored three times.  Tsutsugo also drew three walks, scoring twice.  Reynolds and Moran each drove in three.  Reynolds needs 16 RBIs in the Pirates’ last 20 games to reach 100.