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.