The Washington Nationals lost their fourth game in a row on Monday night. They fell three games under .500 to 48-51 overall and 8.0 games out of first with 63 games remaining on the schedule in 2013.
The Nats were hitless against Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton through four, but Adam LaRoche (1 for 2, BB, HR) got them on the board with a leadoff blast to right in the fifth. Jayson Werth (2 for 4) hit two two-run home runs, one off Morton and one off Pirates' closer Jason Grilli. Denard Span (2 for 4) doubled. Bryce Harper was 1 for 3. Wilson Ramos 2 for 4. Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman were a combined 0 for 8 with two Ks.
On the day their hitting coach was relieved of his duties, the Nationals collected five runs on nine hits in what ended up a 6-5 loss to the visiting Bucs. Nats' skipper Davey Johnson told reporters after the loss that he liked what he saw from his hitters in the fourth game of the team's 11-game homestand in Nationals Park.
"There's a lot of character on this ballclub," the manager said, "There's no quit. There's a lot of fight. You know, we swung the bats pretty good. [Morton] had an outstanding sinker. Really explosive the first few innings. But by and large everybody swung the bats pretty good." Unfortunately for the Nationals one of the Pirates swung the bat pretty good too...
With his 2 for 5, 2 HR game against Washington, McCutchen, 26, is now 44 for 102 (.431/.492/.912) with six doubles, two triples and 13 HRs in 27 games and 118 plate appearances against the Nationals since the 2005 1st Round pick debuted in the majors in 2009. In four games this season, the Pirates' center fielder is now 6 for 16 (.375/.412/.938) three home runs in four games against the Nats. Can he take Taylor Jordan deep? If he does he'll just be the third player this year to do so...
• Here's the Nationals' lineup for the second game of four with the Pirates tonight:
#Nationals lineup vs. PIT: Harper 7, Rendon 4, Zimmerman 5, LaRoche 3, Werth 9, Desmond 6, Span 8, Ramos 2, Jordan 1— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) July 23, 2013