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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.

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