Nationals Vs. Pirates: Washington Avoids Sweep On Arm Of Stephen Strasburg

Despite an impressive outing from Kevin Correia, the Pirates could not complete the sweep against the Nationals as Stephen Strasburg fanned 13 for the 4-2 win.

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Nationals Vs. Pirates Recap: Washington Avoids Sweep On Arm Of Stephen Strasburg

The Washington Nationals rode a dominant pitching performance from Stephen Strasburg to a 4-2 win on Thursday night, avoiding a sweep at PNC Park. Strasburg, who set a career-high for strikeouts with 14 in his major league debut two years ago against the Bucs, blew it past 13 Pirates in the series finale. Washington manager Davey Johnson let him throw 103 pitches in six innings. It looked like Pittsburgh might break through against him in the sixth after he walked the bases loaded, but the ace blew it past Garrett Jones for his 13th K, ending the inning.

The Pirate offense made a little noise in the fourth inning, adding two runs on a mini-rally against the cruising Strasburg. Andrew McCutchen continued his tear by singling home Jose Tabata. Bryce Harper came up with the ball and made an ill-advised throw to home, allowing McCutchen to advance to second. He was knocked home two batters later by Neil Walker. That would close the books on Pittsburgh's offense.

Kevin Correia had an impressive outing for Clint Hurdle. He made only a couple bad pitches, and the Nationals' scuffling offense took full advantage. Roger Bernadina led off the sixth inning with a solo shot to dead center to end Correia's shutout. After the Bucs' starter walked Ryan Zimmerman, former Pirate Adam LaRoche took one to center to put the Nats in front for good. It was LaRoche's sixth homer of the season. Rick Ankiel deposited one into the front row of the right field seats to add some insurance, but Washington closer Henry Rodriguez would close out the 4-2 win.

The Pirates will stay at home now and host a weekend series against the Houston Astros. Bud Norris will go for the 'Stros while James McDonald will toe the rubber for the Bucs.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Nats, there’s Federal Baseball. You can also check out SB Nation's Baseball hub page for more on this and every Major League Baseball series.

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Nationals Vs. Pirates Lineups: Bucs' Starting Nine Against Stephen Strasburg

Here’s the Pirates’ lineup for Thursday night’s matchup against Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals.

Jose Tabata RF
Alex Presley LF
Andrew McCutchen CF
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Neil Walker 2B
Garrett Jones 1B
Clint Barmes SS
Michael McKenry C
Kevin Correia P

Rod Barajas gets the day off, and Presley returns to his customary spot after sitting in favor of Yamaico Navarro on Wednesday.

The Pirates will be without closer Joel Hanrahan, who has been added to the bereavement list after the passing of his grandmother. The Bucs have recalled reliever Dan McCutchen to take his place. Hanrahan is expected to come back Sunday.

Here’s the Nationals’ lineup:

Ian Desmond SS
Roger Bernadina LF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam LaRoche 1B
Bryce Harper RF
Danny Espinosa 2B
Rick Ankiel CF
Jesus Flores C
Stephen Strasburg P

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Nats, there’s Federal Baseball.

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Nationals Vs. Pirates: Pittsburgh Goes For Sweep Against Stephen Strasburg, Nationals

The Pittsburgh Pirates will be going for the sweep on Thursday night when they host the Washington nationals in the third and final game of their midweek series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm and you can find the game on ROOT Sports.

The Pirates have been able to win the first two games against this first place team, but things should get a little bit more difficult as the Nationals will send Stephen Strasburg to the mound for Thursday's game. The Pirates know all about what Strasburg can do, as they were the victims of his 14-strikeout debut a couple of years ago. The Pirates have been able to get to the Nationals starting pitchers so far in this series, something that very few teams have been able to do this year. Can they keep that trend going against Strasburg? He will be opposed by Kevin Correia

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Nats, there’s Federal Baseball. You can also check out SB Nation's Baseball hub page for more on this and every Major League Baseball series.

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Erik Bedard Injury: How Serious Are Pirates Starter's Back Spasms?

The Pirates defeated the Washington Nationals 4-2 Wednesday night, but the departure of starter Erik Bedard after one inning due to back spasms cast a pall over the evening. Bedard has been injury-prone in the past several years, and the last thing the Pirates would want would be to lose for an extended period one of their more effective starters.

With any injury, it's hard to speculate, but fortunately, it looks like our default outlook should be that the injury isn't terribly serious. Bedard has suffered back spasms before, and they're typically not a big deal, he says.

"I did it four years ago, too," Bedard said. "Same thing, one pitch. With back spasms, it usually hurts for a couple of days, gradually goes a away, and then you’re fine."

It's unclear if Bedard will be able to make his next scheduled start, and it wouldn't be much of a surprise if the Pirates held him out just to be careful. Until we hear that the injury is more serious, though, I wouldn't assume he'll miss much more that that.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.

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Nationals Vs. Pirates Recap: Pittsburgh Bullpen, Andrew McCutchen Lead Bucs To 4-2 Win

The Pittsburgh Pirates improved to 8-6 at home on Wednesday night with a series-clinching win over the Washington Nationals. After an impressive start from A.J. Burnett on Tuesday, it was the Bucs bullpen that put in the work in Game 2 of the series. Pittsburgh starter Erik Bedard left the game in the second inning with back spasms, handing the ball over to Brad Lincoln who gave up just one hit over three innings of work. Lincoln allowed only one unearned run, with Xavier Nady knocking in Bryce Harper in the 4th inning.

Jared Hughes, Juan Cruz, and Jason Grilli would pick up from there, allowing just three hits over four combined innings of work. Hughes and Lincoln both struck out four during their solid extended appearances in relief. Joel Hanrahan then closed the door in the top of the 9th with his sixth save of the season.

The Bucs put together a three-run third inning, which is all they would need with the bullpen working its magic. After two outs to start the inning, the Bucs rattled off four hits against Washington starter Ross Detwiler. Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen, and Casey McGehee each knocked in a run on singles. McCutchen, who's on fire, would add the Bucs' fourth run and his second RBI of the night when he took Craig Stammen deep to left in the 8th to make it 4-2.

Pittsburgh will go for the sweep of the NL East's top team on Thursday night, with Kevin Correia on the mound. The Nats will counter with ace Stephen Strasburg.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Nats, there’s Federal Baseball.

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Nationals Vs. Pirates: Clint Barmes, Alex Presley Sit Against Ross Detwiler

Here’s the Pirates’ lineup against Ross Detwiler and the Washington Nationals Wednesday night:

Jose Tabata RF
Neil Walker 2B
Andrew McCutchen CF
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Casey McGehee 1B
Yamaico Navarro LF
Rod Barajas C
Josh Harrison SS
Erik Bedard P

To have both Navarro and Harrison in the lineup is unusual, since they’re both backup infielders who perform similar functions. But the Pirates probably wanted to give struggling outfielder Alex Presley a day off against the lefty Detwiler. Clint Barmes, who hasn’t had a hit in his last three games and who’s in the midst of a miserable .159/.196/.307 season, sits as well. Harrison isn’t good enough at shortstop to play there every day, though, so Barmes probably isn’t looking over his shoulder just yet. The Pirates don’t currently have a legitimate replacement for him.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Nats, there’s Federal Baseball.

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Nationals Vs. Pirates: Ross Detwiler, Erik Bedard Face Off Following Crazy Game

In the aftermath of a wild 5-4 win on Tuesday that featured a walk-off home run by struggling Bucs catcher Rod Barajas, the Nationals and Pirates continue their series on Wednesday at 7:05.

Of course every game is winnable, but this one in particular looks like a winnable game for the Pirates. Erik Bedard gets the start, and he’s coming off three good ones — he struck out seven in seven innings against the Cardinals April 22, then whiffed nine in five innings in a win over the Braves April 28, then struck out 11 while beating the Cardinals May 3.

The Nationals, meanwhile, will send out Ross Detwiler. Detwiler has a 1.59 ERA this year and has only allowed two homers, thanks in part to a bit of luck, and also to getting ground balls 58 percent of the time. Ground-ball hitters like Jose Tabata may struggle against him, and the Pirates will need to work on hitting line drives and getting the ball in the air to beat him.

For more on the Pirates, be sure to check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Nationals, there’s Federal Baseball.

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Nationals Vs. Pirates Final Score: Rod Barajas Walk-Off Homer Wins It For Bucs, 5-4

The Pittsburgh Pirates were all tied up at 2-2 mid-way through the game with the Washington Nationals, but Buccos second baseman Neil Walker broke up the tie with a sacrifice single in the eighth inning. One the Nationals went to their bullpen, the Pirates were able to pick up some hits including a clutch hit in the bottom of the ninth inning.

The Bucs gave up the lead in the top of the ninth inning as Adam LaRoche hit a two-run home run to center field off Joel Hanrahan, scoring both he and Ryan Zimmerman to give the Nationals a one run lead. The Pirates were able to rally, though, as catcher Rod Barajas hit a walk-off two-run homerun to win the game 5-4 for the Bucs. The homer gave Barajas his first two RBIs in what had previously been a terrible season for him so far.

Tony Watson picks up his second win of the season as A.J. Burnett, who struck out 10, went eight innings for a no decision.

Check out Bucs Dugout's latest podcast, which previews the Nationals series. For more on the Nats, head over to Federal Baseball.

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Nationals Vs. Pirates Score Update: Pittsburgh Ties It 2-2 On Pair Of Homeruns

The Washington Nationals came to visit the Pittsburgh Pirates jumped out to an early lead over the Bucs. Wilson Ramos hit a solo-homerun to give the Nationals an early 1-0 lead in the third inning while Rick Ankiel singled to right field, hitting in Bryce Harper to give the Nats a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning.

Andrew McCutchen hit a solo-homerun to centerfield to cut the Nats lead in half in the bottom of the fourth inning, finally putting the Pirates on the scoreboard. Garrett Jones to tied up the game with a solo shot of his own in the same inning. The Nats have been able to get some base runners with six hits through five innings while the Pirates have struggled to get on base against Edwin Jackson, who's given up just three hits.

Check out Bucs Dugout's latest podcast, which previews the Nationals series. For more on the Nats, head over to Federal Baseball.

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Nationals Vs. Pirates Lineup: Pittsburgh Sends A.J. Burnett To Face Washington

The Pittsburgh Pirates face a stiff challenge against the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night in the first game of a three-game series. A.J. Burnett gets the start on the bump for Pittsburgh, looking for his second win of the season. He's also looking to lower his 8.04 ERA against a Nationals team that could have third baseman Ryan Zimmerman back in the lineup after he was reactivated earlier on Tuesday.

Edwin Jackson will take the hill against the Pirates. Jackson is currently 1-1 with a 3.69 ERA in five starts.

The rest of the Pirates' lineup is as such:

The game is scheduled for a 7:05 first pitch from PNC Park. Television coverage will be provided by Root Sports. Radio coverage will be provided by KDKA-FM 93.7.

Check out Bucs Dugout's latest podcast, which previews the Nationals series. For more on the Nats, head over to Federal Baseball.

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Nationals Vs. Pirates: Can Bucs Offense Keep Up With Nats Pitching?

Can the Pirates' hitters keep up with fearsome Nats pitchers like Stephen Strasburg?

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