Odd 5:00PM Start Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: After five scoreless by Washington Nationals' right-hander Doug Fister, things fell apart in the top of the sixth in the series finale with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Gregory Polanco reached on an error by Ian Desmond, took third on a hit-and-run single through the right side by Josh Harrison and then scored on a grounder back to the mound by Neil Walker when Anthony Rendon threw the ball away after the Nats caught Polanco in a rundown between third and home. 1-0.
The second run of the inning scored on a weak grounder to third by Russell Martin that brought Josh Harrison in, but Fister managed to limit the damage to those two unearned runs in a long, ugly, 22-pitch frame. 2-0 Pirates after five and a half in the nation's capital.
Ian Desmond made up for the error with a two-out RBI line drive to center off Bucs' starter Edinson Volquez in the Nationals' sixth, driving Anthony Rendon in from second after the Nats' third baseman singled and moved up to second on an Adam LaRoche walk. 2-1 Pirates.
A one-out HBP on Michael Taylor started a Nationals' rally in the seventh. Pinch hitter Kevin Frandsen and Denard Span followed with back-to-back singles to load'em up for Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera grounded weakly to first, but Pirates' first baseman Ike Davis threw wide of home, allowing both Taylor and Frandsen to score, 3-2 Nats. Pedro Alvarez then threw high trying to get Span at home on a weak roller toward third off Anthony Rendon's bat as the Nationals took a 4-2 lead.
The Pirates got within one in the ninth with Starling Marte reaching on a HBP, taking third on a single to right by Travis Snider and scoring on a wild pitch, 4-3, and then took the lead when Gregory Polanco doubled in two runs with a long fly ball off the out-of-town scoreboard in right. 5-4 Pirates. Blown save for Rafael Soriano.
The Nationals came back again in the ninth, however. Jayson Werth took a walk from closer Mark Melancon and took third base on a single to right by Denard Span before scoring on a single to right by Asdrubal Cabrera. 5-5.
WATCH: Asdrubal Cabrera stepped to the plate with a chance to tie this ballgame up. And then he did: http://t.co/MTtgAXhKOF— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 18, 2014
Jayson Werth doubled to start the eleventh, took third on a Denard Span groundout and scored to win in on a sac fly to left by Scott Hairston. 6-5 final. Do you believe?
4. Sundays with Fister: With seven scoreless innings on the mound in Citi Field last Tuesday, Doug Fister earned the 12th win of his first season in the Washington Nationals' rotation (W, 12-3).
The win over the New York Mets left the Nats' 30-year-old, 6'8'' right-hander (4-1) in five second-half starts, over which he's put up a 1.06 ERA and a 2.54 FIP, with five walks (1.32 BB/9) and 24 Ks (6.35 K/9) in 34 IP in which he's held opposing hitters to a .242/.271/.297 line.
Fister, who rarely seems completely satisfied with any outing, talked after the start about the positives and negatives he took from the outing.
"Overall there were some good things and bad things obviously," he told reporters, "but the best thing is our offense came out and just opened things up early. Our defense was right on par tonight and that's what we want to look at.
"We're playing good baseball together, working together and really kind of sacrificing and doing the things we need to do."
Nats' skipper Matt Williams praised Fister's work in an MLB Network Radio interview the next morning.
"He works fast and he throws strikes," Williams said. "His tempo is really incredible to me, the tempo at which he pitches. And it keeps our guys on their toes, they know the ball is going to be hit, so there [are] good plays made behind him. So all of those things combined just add up to him going deep in games for us and giving us a chance to win every day."
The start in New York left Fister with a 2.34 ERA, a 3.63 FIP, 13 walks (1.05 BB/9) and 69 Ks (5.56 K/9) in 17 starts and 111 ⅔ IP. This afternoon, Fister and the Nationals were back in the nation's capital, where he was (6-1) in seven starts before today, with a 2.01 ERA, a 2.89 FIP, five walks (0.91 BB/9) and 36 Ks (6.57 K/9) in 49 ⅓ IP in which he's held visiting hitters to a combined .208/.242/.315 line.
Fister was facing the Pittsburgh Pirates for the fourth time in his career today.
In his previous three outings against the NL Central franchise, the one-time Mariner and Tiger and current National was (1-1) with a 1.47 ERA, two walks and 24 Ks in 18 ⅓ IP in which Pirates' hitters put up a combined .257/.288/.314 line...
1st: Gregory Polanco went down swinging at an 0-2 two-seamer outside. Josh Harrison sent a fly ball out to Michael Taylor in a sun-drenched right field in Nationals Park for out no.2. Neil Walker's pop to Ian Demsond in short left ended a quick, eight-pitch, 1-2-3 first for Fister.
2nd: Russell Martin sent a fly ball out to Michael Taylor in right, one down. Pedro Alvarez went down swinging at a diving full-count change. Starling Marte stepped in with two out and no one on and grounded back to the mound to end a 16-pitch frame that left Fister at 24 total after two scoreless.
3rd: Travis Snider grounded out to Ian Desmond at short. Ike Davis took a high 3-2 fastball for ball four and a one-out walk. A wild pitch moved Davis to second with one down, but Edinson Volquez took a 2-2 fastball for a called strike three and out no.2. Gregory Polanco's fly to center ended Doug Fister's third scoreless after 15 pitches. 39 total after three scoreless.
4th: Josh Harrison lined out to right to start the Bucs' fourth. Neil Walker popped out to first for out no.2. Russell Martin's groundout to third ended a quick, 10-pitch, 1-2-3 frame for Fister, who was up to 49 total after four.
5th: Pedro Alvarez lined a 2-2 cutter to right for the Pirates' first hit off Fister. Starling Marte sent a slow roller to second that Adam LaRoche fielded, throwing to second for the force. Travis Snider lined to right for one-out single that moved Marte into scoring position at second. Ike Daivs sent a fly ball to the track in left-center where Denard Span caught out no.2. Edinson Volquez's fly to right ended a 16-pitch frame that left Fister at 65 total after five.
6th: Gregory Polanco reached on an error by Ian Desmond at short. E:6. Josh Harrison sent a single through the right side with Polanco running, putting runners on first and third with no one out. Neil Walker grounded back to the mound, hanging Polanco up off of third, but the second error of the inning on a throw home by Anthony Rendon let the Pirates' first run in. 1-0.
The second run of the inning scored on a weak grounder to third by Russell Martin when Rendon fielded it and threw it into Martin's back on the catcher's way to first. Harrison scored on the play, 2-0. Pedro Alvarez's single through second loaded the bases with no one out. Starling Marte grounded back to the mound in the next at bat, but a high throw home by Fister limited the Nats to one out. Travis Snider got the second bases-loaded opportunity of the inning, but grounded to first allowing Adam LaRoche to come home for a force at the plate and out no.2. Pirates' skipper Clint Hurdle thought about asking for another look to see if Wilson Ramos kept his foot on home plate on the play, but declined to challenge it. Ike Davis worked the count full and sent a fly to short right to end a 22-pitch frame that left Fister at 87 overall.
7th: Edinson Volquez K'd swinging to start the Pirates' seventh. Gregory Polanco K'd looking at a 1-2 fastball that the Pirates' rookie thought was inside. Josh Harrison's groundout to third ended a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 frame for Fister, who was up to 97 pitches overall.
• Doug Fister's Line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 97 P, 69 S, 9/6 GO/FO.
3. Volquez vs the Nationals: Edinson Volquez, 31, signed a 1-year/$5M deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates last December.
Here are some notes for today's series finale. pic.twitter.com/LK5XCDrcgd— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) August 17, 2014
The one-time Texas Ranger, Cincinnati Red, San Diego Padre and LA Dodger joined his fifth major league team after a 2013 campaign in which he was (9-12) with a 5.71 ERA, a 4.24 FIP, 77 walks (4.07 BB/9) and 142 Ks (7.50 K/9) in 33 games, 32 starts and 170 ⅓ IP for the Padres and Dodgers in which opposing hitters put up a .282/.355/.449 line against him.
Through 24 games and 23 starts this season, Volquez is (10-7) with a 3.67 ERA, a 4.41 FIP, 51 walks (3.29 BB/9) and 95 Ks (6.12 K/9) in 139 ⅔ in which he's held opposing hitters to a .243/.317/.384 line.
Volquez faced the Nationals earlier this season, earning a win in PNC Park in May with six innings of work on the mound in which he gave up three hits, two walks and one earned run.
That outing was the fifth of his career against Washington, leaving him (2-2) with a 5.47 ERA, 14 walks (4.78 BB/9) and 25 Ks (8.54 K/9) in 26 ⅓ IP against the Nationals over which Nats' hitters have put up a combined .216/.321/.381 line against the right-hander.
The veteran of 10 major league seasons took the mound in Nationals Park today for the first time in his ten-year career having won two straight starts and six of his last nine outings.
Over those nine turns in the rotation, going back to June 23, Volquez was (6-1) with the Pirates 8-1 in his starts, in which he put up a 2.30 ERA with 23 walks (3.53 BB/9) and 40 Ks (6.14 K/9) in 58 ⅔ IP over which he held opposing hitters to a .244/.325/.347 line.
Volquez's second start of the year against the Nationals began with a scoreless, 20-pitch frame in which he worked around a two-out single by Anthony Rendon and two-out walk to Adam LaRoche.
Michael Taylor lined a two-out single toward short and just off a diving Josh Harrison's glove, but Volquez completed his second scoreless inning of work after 13 pitches at 33 total after two.
A 13-pitch, 1-2-3 third left Volquez at 46.
An 11-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth gave Volquez four scoreless innings on 57 pitches.
Wilson Ramos, Michael Taylor and Doug Fister were the eighth, ninth and tenth straight batters set down by Volquez, who was up to 70 pitches after a 13-pitch fifth.
Anthony Rendon singled to right with two down in the Nats' sixth to break Volquez's streak of retired batters up at twelve. Adam LaRoche stepped in with one on and two out and walked to bring Ian Desmond up, and Desmond cut the Pirates' lead in half with an RBI line drive to center field. 2-1 Pirates. Desmond took second on an ill-advised throw home by Starling Marte bringing Bryce Harper up with runners on second and third, but a fly to left ended the threat. 17-pitch frame. 87 total after six by Volquez.
A one-out HBP on Michael Taylor started something in the Nats' seventh when a review showed it hit the rookie's hand and not his bat. Pinch hitter Kevin Frandsen stepped in for Fister and singled to left to put two on with no one out. Denard Span singled to left with one down, loading the bases for Asdrubal Cabrera...[ed. note - "Action picks up in no.1."]
• Edinson Volquez's Line: 6.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 95 P, 61 S, 9/3 GO/FO.
2. Season Series Decider: Saturday night's comeback and walk-off win evened things up between the Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates at 3-3 this season and set up a rubber match to decide the 2014 season series.
Your Bucs warming up before BP here in DC. pic.twitter.com/C2bJaXgJbx— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) August 17, 2014
The Nats dropped three of four games in PNC Park when the two teams met in late May, but took the first two games of the three-game set in the nation's capital.
The Nationals' two wins this weekend left them 34-31 against the Pirates since baseball returned to Washington in 2005 and 14-10 in the games contested in Nationals Park.
A win in the series finale would give the Nationals a sweep of the three-game set and a season-high win streak after they'd won five straight twice.
A sac fly by Scott Hairston in the 11th won it, giving the Nationals a three-game sweep, six straight overall and the season series.
1. The Wrap-Up: Jared Hughes took over on the mound for the Pirates vs Asdrubal Cabrera in the Nationals' seventh with the bases loade and one out. Cabrera grounded weakly to Bucs' first baseman Ike Davis, and didn't run at first, so he blocked Davis' view on the throw home and the Pirates' infielder threw wide of the plate allowing Michael Taylor and Kevin Frandsen to score for a 3-2 Nats' lead. Anthony Rendon grounded to third in the next at bat and Pedro Alvarez threw high, allowing Denard Span to score and make it 4-2 after seven.
Tyler Clippard gave up a leadoff single by Neil Walker in the eighth, but Asdrubal Cabrera made a spectacular play and behind the back toss to start a 4-6-3 on a grounder up the middle off Russell Martin's bat. Pedro Alvarez's grounder back to the mound ended a quick, seven-pitch frame for Clippard.
Pitch it, Soriano! Pitch it, Soriano! Strike'em out, Soriano! Strike'em out, Soriano!
After a scoreless bottom of the eighth by Pirates' right-hander John Axford, Nats' closer Rafael Soriano came on looking for save no.30 of 2014. Soriano hit Starling Marte to put a runner on and bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Travis Snider. Snider ripped a low liner to right off Adam LaRoche's glove sending Marte around to third. Pinch runner Michael Martinez took over for Snider. With Ike Davis up, a wild pitch brought Marte in, 4-3. Davis started up 3-0 and fouled off a 3-0 pitch. Soriano missed with a 3-1 pitch to load'em up. Jordy Mercer came on to run for Davis. Gaby Sanchez hit one straight down, allowing Wilson Ramos to throw to first and cut down the lead runner. One out. Gregory Polanco stepped in with two on and doubled off the out-of-town scoreboard to drive to runs in and make it a 5-4 game.
Mark Melancon came out to try to save it for the Pirates. Pinch hitter Jayson Werth walked with one down and Denard Span lined a single to right to send Werth around to third. First and third, one out... and Asdrubal Cabera lined a single to right to bring Werth in. 5-5 game. BS for the Pirates' closer. Adam LaRoche? Called strike three.
Ross Detwiler gave up a two-out single to right by Starling Marte, but completed a scoreless top of the tenth.
Brandon Cumpton took over on the mound for the Pirates in the bottom of the tenth. Wilson Ramos singled to center with two down, but Danny Espinosa popped out to end the inning.
Detwiler needed 12 pitches to retire the Pirates in order in the top of the eleventh.
Jayson Werth stepped in against Cumpton in the bottom of the eleventh and doubled to left to start the frame. Denard Span moved Werth to third with a groundout to the right side and a sac fly by Scott Hairston brought Werth in, 6-5 final.
Nationals now 69-53