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Pirates Vs. Nationals: Mistakes Lead To Sixth Straight Loss For Bucs

The Pirates lost their sixth consecutive game Monday night, 4-2 to the Nationals, despite a seven-strikeout performance by Paul Maholm.

The Bucs made a number of crucial mistakes, including running into two outs in the fourth inning (including a terrible decision by Brandon Wood to try to get from first to third with no outs on a single), and using new reliever Jose Ascanio in a key situation in the seventh inning.

The game was tied at 2-2 when Clint Hurdle had Ascanio relieve Maholm with one out and a man on, and Ascanio allowed a two-run homer to Danny Espinosa, the first batter he faced. Ascanio is only on the team in the first place because the Pirates would risk losing him via waivers if they tried to sent him to the minors, but he's really not ready to face major-league pitching right now. The usual way to deal with that problem would be to have him pitch low-leverage innings, but instead, Hurdle had him pitch late in a tie game with a runner on. Perhaps Hurdle felt like his bullpen was too worn down after pitching a lot of innings in a rough series against Milwaukee, but he easily could have considered leaving Maholm out to finish the inning.

Andrew McCutchen went 2-for-4 with a triple and a walk for the Pirates.

For more on the Bucs and the game, check out Bucs Dugout.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.