Andrew McCutchen had a .433/.496/.876 line, six doubles, two triples and 11 home runs in 26 games and 113 plate appearances against Washington in his career before tonight, so he is probably the last person Nationals' starter Dan Haren should have walked a batter in front of, but he did with one down in the top of the first inning and Haren then surrendered a two-run home run to right-center that cleared the out-of-town scoreboard in Nationals Park to give the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates a 2-0 lead after a half inning in D.C. HR no.13 of 2013 for McCutchen. The 20th home run allowed by Haren this year in 94 IP. 24-pitch first.
Charlie Morton walked Bryce Harper in the first at bat of the Nats' first inning, but a force at second off Anthony Rendon's bat and a 6-4-3 DP from Ryan Zimmerman ended a quick 14-pitch frame for the Pirates' right-handed starter.
Dan Haren retired the side in order in an eight-pitch inning in the top of the second. 32 total for Haren. It took Charlie Morton 12 pitches to record three outs in the Nationals' half of the second inning. Haren threw three pitches by Morton for the first out of the third and the sixth-straight batter set down after McCutchen's home run in the first. Haren hit Starling Marte on the hands with a 2-2 fastball to put a runner on with one down. Jordy Mercer flew to left for out no.2, bringing Andrew McCutchen up for the second time tonight, and Pittsburgh's Nat-killer of a center fielder homered for the second time in two at bats, taking a 2-1 cutter to left-center for another two-run home run, this one into the Red Porch seats. 4-0 Pirates. 16-pitch third for Haren. 48 overall after three.
• McCutchen's Absurd #'s vs Nats Update:
Your up-to-the-second McCutchen career numbers in 26+ games vs. #Nats: .444 AVG, 13 HR, 26 RBI, .509 OBP, .939 SLG, 1.448 OPS.— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) July 22, 2013
Charlie Morton's 1-2-3 third inning lasted all of 13 pitches, after which he'd thrown three scoreless on 39 pitches overall and faced the minimum number of opposing batters.
Russell Martin singled on a first-pitch cutter from Dan Haren, then took third when Garrett Jones doubled to right off the Nationals' starter. With runners on second and third and no one out, Gaby Sanchez grounded out to short to bring a run in and make it 5-0 Pirates. 15-pitch inning for Haren, 63 total after four. After a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth by Pirates' starter Charlie Morton, the Bucs' right-hander had 4.0 scoreless and hitless in Nationals Park with 8 groundouts and 3 Ks from the 12 batters he'd faced. 5-0 Pittsburgh.
Jordy Mercer doubled off the base of the left field wall with one down in the Pirates' fifth, bringing Andrew McCutchen up with a runner on for the third time tonight. Dan Haren struck the outfielder out with a filthy, diving 1-2 splitter this time for out no.2, and he then got Pedro Alvarez swinging with an 0-2 splitter that ended a 17-pitch frame. 80 pitches total after 5 IP by Haren.
Adam LaRoche broke up Charlie Morton's no-hit bid with a solo home run to right on the second pitch of the Nats' fifth. LaRoche's 14th home run made it a 5-1 game. Denard Span and Wilson Ramos hit back-to-back singles through the left side with two down. Roger Bernadina hit for Dan Haren with two on, ending the Nats' starter's night after 5.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 2 HR, 81 P, 55 S, 3/5 GO/FO, and Bernadina worked the count full before he K'd swinging at a 95 mph fastball outside to end the fifth.
Russell Martin singled to start the Pirates' fifth and stole second on Craig Stammen and Nationals' catcher Wilson Ramos. Nats' second baseman Anthony Rendon made a slick diving play and strong throw to get Garrett Jones for the first out of the inning. Martin took third on the groundout, but Stammen popped Gaby Sanchez up to get the second out of the inning without Martin scoring and Stammen then walked Clint Barmes to get to the opposing pitcher and got a groundout to second from Charlie Morton to end the Bucs' sixth.
Bryce Harper singled to start the Nationals' half of the sixth, but a 5-4-3 DP from Anthony Rendon and a swinging K by Ryan Zimmerman followed to end the inning with the score still 5-1 Pirates.
Jordy Mercer singled to left with one down in the seventh, bringing Andrew McCutchen up again with a runner on base. Mercer was caught stealing by Wilson Ramos though, for out no.2 and McCutchen's groundout to third ended Stammen's second scoreless inning of work in relief. Adam LaRoche got hit by a pitch in the first at bat of the Nationals' seventh and Jayson Werth followed with a two-run blast in the next AB, taking an 0-1 change out to left-center and into the visitor's bullpen to make it 5-3 Pirates in the seventh. Wilson Ramos singled with two down to end Charlie Morton's night. Right-handed reliever Bryan Morris took over on the mound against pinch hitter Chad Tracy and got a weak inning-ending groundout to first to keep 5-3 Pirates after seven.
Pedro Alvarez lined an opposite field single to left off Nats' lefty Ian Krol to start the eighth. A walk to Russell Martin put two runners on and brought Steve McCatty out to the mound for a chat. Pinch hitter Jose Tabata bunted both runners over, prompting Davey Johnson to go to the pen for Drew Storen. Gaby Sanchez stepped in with two on and one out and popped unproductively to short left, forcing Alvarez to stay at third, but the second wild pitch of the inning brought the runner in from third to make it 6-3 Pirates. Storen walked Clint Barmes to bring pinch hitter Travis Snider to the plate, but a pop to second ended the top of the eighth.
Left-hander Tony Watson took over for Pittsburgh in the bottom of the eighth. Anthony Rendon lined to single for a one-out center on a 1-1 fastball, bringing Ryan Zimmerman up with a runner on, but the Nats' third baseman grounded into an inning-ending 6-4-3 DP. 6-3 Pirates after eighth.
Fernando Abad retired the Pirates in order in the top of the ninth with some help from a nice play by Ian Desmond at short. Jason Grilli came on looking for his 30th save of 2013 and walked Adam LaRoche to start the Nats' ninth. Jayson Werth stepped in with a runner on and hit his second two-run home run of the night out to right and over the out-of-town scoreboard to get the Nationals within one at 6-5. Grilli struck Ian Desmond out for the first out of the inning, but Denard Span doubled to right with one down to put the tying run at second. Wilson Ramos K'd swinging through a high 1-2 slider for out no.2. Steve Lombardozzi stepped in with two down, but after one pitch, Jason Grilli left the game with an injury. Vin Mazzaro took over for the Pirates' closer and got a weak grounder to second to end the game. Pirates win, 6-5 final.
Nationals now 48-51