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Washington Nationals Pound Pittsburgh Pirates, 9-2. John Lannan Shuts Bucs Down.

Tonight's Top 5: 

5. E: 103-104: Nats' lefty John Lannan starts the game with two grounders and gets a swinging K to end a quick 1-2-3 first. After back-to-back K's in the second, Lannan lets a weak chopper from Lastings Milledge get by the mound and Ian Desmond drops it as he rushes with the speedy Pirates' OF heading for first. Lannan maintains his composure and gets another grounder to short from Ronny Cedeno, but Milledge is running and near second already when Desmond boots the second straight grounder hit his way forcing Lannan to face one more batter, Bucs' catcher Chris Snyder, who lines out to Danny Espinosa at second. Lannan adds two more K's in the third, and through 3.0 scoreless he's tied his season high with 5 K's from the Pirates. (+1,000 points) E: 30, 31 for Desmond, E's: 103-104 for Washington.. (ed. note - "Ryan Zimmerman commits an error on a grounder to third by Andrew McCutchen in the seventh, Zim's 14th and the Nats' 105th. 

4. And ZIm's Up Again In The Fourth: Paul Maholm's rolling through three, but a broken bat single breaks his momentum, as Ryan Zimmerman drops a flare into left for the Nats' first hit. Eight batters later, Zim's groundout to short ends the frame on a force at second, but in-between Zim's two fourth-inning AB's the Nationals plate five runs on a two-run double by Pudge Rodriguez that Lastings Milledge misplays in right, a run-scoring single by Danny Espinosa that gets through a drawn-in infield, a sac fly by Justin Maxwell that almost goes out in left center and a check-swing oops RBI single by Nyjer Morgan that puts Washington up 5-0 after three and a half on the road.

3. Cool Hand...

Lannan gives up his first hit in the fourth when Pedro Alvarez drives a grounder over the mound and up the middle and it looks like Lannan might be in trouble when Lastings Milledge follows with the second-straight hit off the Nats' lefty. Two on and one out, but the Nats' starter gets back-to-back groundouts from Ronny Cedeno and Bucs' backstop Chris Snyder for a scoreless fourth. 5-0 Nationa---Make that 7-0, Pudge Rodriguez takes Paul Maholm all the way the other way for a two-run HR to right (OPPO-BOPPO!!) and a seven-run Nats' lead in the fifth.

2. Ian Desmond Is Not All E's: Pirates' right-hander Danny McCutchen walks the opposing pitcher John Lannan and then gives up a single to Nyjer Morgan and an RBI double to Ian Desmond. The Nats' shortstop's line drive to left scores Lannan to put the Nats up 8-1 following a line drive HR by Andrew McCutchen in the Pirates' fifth, and Desi's double leaves the Nationals' rookie infielder 2 for 4 with a two-bagger, an RBI and a .285 AVG on the year following a .347/.385/.465 August. 

1. MOAR GROUNDERZ!!: John Lannan's out after 7.0 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 1 BB and 1 ER allowed, and he collects 7 K's, a season high, (+5,000 points) while inducing 9 groundouts and 4 flyouts from the Pirates' hitters. Lannan throws 109 pitches, 68 for strikes, and leaves the game with the Nats up 8-1. In 7 starts since returning from a Double-A stint in which the lefty was tasked with rediscovering what had helped him be successful before this season, Lannan's now 5-1 with 19 K's and 6 walks in 43.0 IP. Both teams add a run in the eighth, with Michael Morse singling Ian Desmond in from second to make it 9-1 a half-inning before Ronny Cedeno's RBI double makes it 9-2, but Lastings Milledge is thrown out at the plate by Roger Bernadina and Doug Slaten pitches his way out of a jam. Nats win, 9-2 final. 

• Game Notes: The Nats collect 15 hits, 2 each by Morgan, Morse and Espinosa, 3 for Desmond and 3 for Pudge, while Zimmerman, Bernadina and Lannan contribute 1 each. A night after a DP-filled game, Pudge Rodriguez goes 3 for 5 with a HR and 4 RBI's. Danny Espinosa goes 2 for 5 with a run scored and an RBI, and the Nats' 23-year-old infielder is now 5 for 11, .455 with 2 doubles, 1 HR and 4 RBI's in his first 3 MLB games. 

• Miss The Game? The DC Faithful Were Watching...

Num Name - Comments
1 souldrummer - 83
2 MissB - 43
3 Nationalpastime9 - 33
4 d_c_guy - 28
5 TJL - 19
6 The Herndon Kid - 12
7 Doncosmic - 10
8 RoscoeNats - 7
9 wxguy - 5
10 rachel216 - 3


• Final Score: Nats 9, Pirates 2.

Nationals now 58-78.