May 17, 2012; Washington, D.C., USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher James McDonald (53) in action in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

Pirates Vs. Nationals: Bucs Take Season Series With 5-3 Win In Washington

The Pirates dropped the first game of a two-game set in DC, but James McDonald's powerful arm and Andrew McCutchen's power at the plate took the second game and the season series.

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Pirates Vs. Nationals Recap: Bucs Win Season Series With The Long Ball

The Pittsburgh Pirates took the season series against NL East-leading Washington on Thursday night with a 5-3 win at Nationals Park. James McDonald was magnificent and the offense came through with the long ball against the typically tough Jordan Zimmermann. McDonald had a no-hitter and 10 strikeouts through the first five innings, before hitting a bit of a rough patch in the sixth. During the third time through the order, the Nats got around on some balls and had some well-placed hits to string together a three-run rally. McDonald's night ended there, with 11 Ks and 1 walk through 5.2 innings pitched.

The offense struck early with plenty of power, led by Andrew McCutchen, who opened the game in the first inning by taking Zimmermann the other way into the Nats' bullpen in right. He hit another solo homer to left in the sixth inning, putting the Bucs ahead 4-0, which was all they would need. Sandwiched in between the McCutchen bombs was a two-run homer by Rod Barajas. It was his third dinger in the last nine days.

The Pirates now head to Detroit as interleague play begins this weekend with a series against the Tigers.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Nats, there's Federal Baseball. For more on baseball and the MLB in general, visit SB Nation's dedicated MLB hub Baseball Nation.

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Pirates Vs. Nationals: James McDonald Dominating With 10 Strikeouts Through 5 Innings

Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher James McDonald has had an incredible break-out season so far, but his performance through five innings on Thursday night against the Nationals has to be the peak. McDonald has mowed down the Nats, striking out an astonishing ten hitters through five. McDonald entered the game with a sub-2.30 ERA and in the top 25 in MLB in Ks. The Bucs struck out 13 times last week against Stephen Strasburgh, and McDonald is looking to return the favor.

The Pittsburgh starter also had a no-hitter through five innings. He lost his perfect game in the bottom of the fifth, walking rookie Bryce Harper on a 3-2 pitch that just missed. He then lost the no-hitter in the bottom of the sixth, as Jesus Flores ripped a double down the left-field line. The Bucs have hit three home runs off Jordan Zimmermann so far, and lead 4-0.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Nats, there's Federal Baseball. For more on baseball and the MLB in general, visit SB Nation's dedicated MLB hub Baseball Nation.

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Pirates Vs. Nationals Lineup: James McDonald Hopes To Keep Washington Bats Silent

The Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to split their series with the Washington Nationals on Thursday night. While the Nationals will send Jordan Zimmermann to the hill, the Pirates counter with James McDonald, hoping to keep the Nationals' run support of Zimmermann tepid.

The biggest move that McDonald will have to deal with is Nationals outfield Bryce Harper hitting fifth in the order rather than second like he did on Wednesday.

The Pirates lineup is much of the same from the previous night. Shortstop Josh Harrison is still batting out of the eighth spot in the lineup, starting in place of Clint Barmes. Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez will hit second, third and fourth for the Pirates Thursday night.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Nats, there's Federal Baseball. For more on baseball and the MLB in general, visit SB Nation's dedicated MLB hub Baseball Nation.

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Pirates Vs. Nationals: Pittsburgh Looking To Bounce Back In Game 2 Of Short Series

The Nationals' offense woke up on Wednesday night, and Gio Gonzalez and the bullpen kept the Pirates at bay for most of the game. When it was all said and done the Nats took the first game of the series 7-4. The Pirates will have a chance to even things up on Thursday. The game starts at 7:05 pm and you can find the game on ROOT Sports.

It won't get any easier for the Pirates on Thursday as they have to go against Jordan Zimmermann, another strong arm from the Nationals bullpen. he doesn't have the same hook that Gonzalez seemed to confound Pirates hitters with on Wednesday. But Zimmermann has a very strong fastball with a lot of good movement that should still keep the Pirates off-balance. The Pirates will counter by sending James McDonald to the mound.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Nats, there's Federal Baseball. For more on baseball and the MLB in general, visit SB Nation's dedicated MLB hub Baseball Nation.

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Pirates Vs. Nationals Final Score: Bucs Drop First Game 7-4

The Pittsburgh Pirates traveled to Washington D.C. to take on the Nationals, dropping the first game of the two-game set 7-4. Early on, the Pirates struggled to get solid contact on the ball with Gio Gonzalez on the mound for the Nats, as he struck out 10 batters in seven innings of work. Gonzalez gave up just four hits, but one of those hits was a two-run home run by Josh Harrison in the seventh inning to pull within a run of the Nats.

The Nats offense went back to work, however, adding three more runs the very next inning after Clint Hurdle inexplicably allowed the newly-recalled Evan Meek to hit a batter, walk two more and eventually allow an Adam LaRoche double with the bases loaded. Erik Bedard picked up his fifth loss of the season, in part because he gave up three home runs to the Nats. The Bucs have now dropped two in a row to the Nationals.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Nats, there's Federal Baseball. For more on baseball and the MLB in general, visit SB Nation's dedicated MLB hub Baseball Nation.

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Pirates Vs. Nationals Score Update: Bucs Down 2-0 Early

The Pirates have struggled offensively so far, getting just one hit and struggling to get contact as Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez struck out five batters through the first three innings. The Pirates took two of three games from the Nationals in their first match up of the season, but are down 2-0 early to the Nats.

The Nats picked up an early score in the first inning when Ryan Zimmerman plated Bryce Harper on a ground out to shortstop. In the bottom of the third inning, shortstop Ian Desmond extended the Nats lead with a solo home run to left field, giving the Nats the 2-0 lead after three innings.

Center fielder Andrew McCutchen has the only hit so far for the Bucs.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Nats, there's Federal Baseball. For more on baseball and the MLB in general, visit SB Nation's dedicated MLB hub Baseball Nation.

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Pirates Option Alex Presley, Recall Evan Meek

The Pittsburgh Pirates made a roster move on Wednesday before their matchup with the Washington Nationals, sending outfielder Alex Presley to triple-a and recalled right-handed pitcher Evan Meek, according to Rob Biertempfel.

With Brad Lincoln's spot start, the Bucs would have been operating with a short bullpen so they needed another reliever for a few games. The belief is also that the Pirates will send Meek back down in favor of catcher Jake Fox for the Bucs interleague series against the Detroit Tigers.

Presely had struggled while in the lineup as an outfield, so his demotion shouldn't come as too much of a surprise.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Nats, there's Federal Baseball. For more on baseball and the MLB in general, visit SB Nation's dedicated MLB hub Baseball Nation.

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Pirates Vs. Nationals: Bucs Face Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann In Two-Game Set

The Bucs face the Nationals yet again, this time in D.C.

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