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Washington Nationals drop regular season finale, 11-8 to Pittsburgh Pirates, finish 97-65...

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Dusty Baker’s Nationals fell one win short of the franchise record, but there will be postseason baseball in Washington next Friday, so that’s just fine...

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Washington Nationals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Eh, 97 wins is still pretty good. Gio Gonzalez’s rough outing was a little concerning, as Washington’s left-hander gave up seven hits, three walks, and six earned runs in 4 13 innings, and the Nationals left a lot of men on base, blowing a couple bases-loaded opportunities, but they still won 97 games this season, which, again, is pretty good.

Pittsburgh’s Pirates took the regular season finale with an 11-8 win today in the nation’s capital. Arrrrrr!!!

The highlights? Anthony Rendon’s three-run blast gave him 100 (so totally meaningless because context) RBIs on the season and he stayed above .300 on the year, finishing with a .301 AVG overall (and more walks than Ks, just like in college. Don’t @ me).

Daniel Murphy put up another multi-hit game. #MurphGonnaMurph

Bryce Harper hit an opposite field single, and pulled one too, and he barreled both up, then got to test his knee running the bases as he scored from first on double to right by Adrian Sanchez.

Michael A. Taylor hit his 19th home run as well to get the Nationals within three in the seventh, and Adrian Sanchez’s aforementioned double made it a two-run game in the seventh, but the Bucs rallied to take a five-run lead with a three-run eighth and held on for the win.

Nationals finish regular season 97-65

HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:

Gio Gonzalez loaded the bases with back-to-back, two-out walks, and forced in a run with a HBP on his 32nd pitch of the first, before giving up a base-clearing double to left by Max Moroff that put the Pirates up 4-0 early in the regular season finale.

Jacob Stallings hit an RBI single to center in the next at bat to make it 5-0 at the end of a 39-pitch first by Gonzalez.

Trea Turner doubled to start the Nationals’ half of the first, Bryce Harper walked, and after a double steal, Anthony Rendon hit a 2-2 fastball from Steven Brault to left for a three-run home run that drove in his 98th, 99th, and 100th RBIs of the 2017 campaign, 5-3. Rendon’s 25th.

Daniel Murphy singled to start the Nationals’ half of the third, moved up on a walk by Ryan Zimmerman, and scored on an RBI double to left field by Jayson Werth on a 1-1 fastball up in the zone inside, 5-4. Werth’s 10th double of 2017. Matt Wieters walked to load the bases back up and end Brault’s day, but Michael A. Taylor took a rip at a 3-0 fastball (that looked like ball four) from Angel Sanchez, and fouled it off before popping out for the first out of the frame. Gio Gonzalez K’d swinging for out No.2, and Trea Turner grounded out to end the threat.

• Steven Brault’s Line: 2.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 68 P, 36 S, 1/0 GO/FO.

Gio Gonzalez got the first out of the fifth, but three straight hits followed with Andrew McCutchen doubling to left, Josh Bell singling to right, and David Freese driving McCutchen’s pinch runner, Sean Rodriguez, in with another single to right field, 6-4 Pirates.

Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 2 Ks, 93 P, 60 S, 7/1 GO/FO.

Back-to-back, one-out walks by Matt Wieters and Michael A. Taylor, and a single to left field by Jose Lobaton loaded the bases in the Nationals’ half of the fifth, but Jack Leathersich (Cool name, bro), who took over for Johnny Barbato after the walks to Wieters and MAT, got Trea Turner swinging for out No. 2, and got a groundout from Bryce Harper to escape the jam. Still 6-4 Pirates.

Tanner Roark issued a leadoff walk to Max Moroff in the first at bat of the sixth, and Jacob Stallings drove Moroff in with an RBI double in the next at bat, 7-4. Stallings came in on a force at second on a Starling Marte grounder, 8-4.

Austin Adams worked around two walks in a scoreless top of the seventh and Michael A. Taylor took a 97 mph fastball from Dovydas Neverauskas deep to left in the bottom of the inning for his 19th of 2017, making it an 8-5 game in the Pirates’ favor.

Bryce Harper barreled another one up, lining a single to right with two down in the bottom of the seventh, and then he got to test his knee for reals running around the bases on an RBI double to right by Adrian Sanchez, and Harper looked good doing it, scoring to make it a two-run game, 8-6 after seven.

After the Nationals cut into the lead, Oliver Perez gave up back-to-back singles to start the eighth, and a one-out RBI hit by Josh Bell, who put the Pirates back up by three, 9-6, and a bases-loaded walk to Max Moroff made it 10-6. That was it for Ollie, and Matt Albers was on when the Pirates added a run on a high chopper to second base, 11-6.

Alejandro De Aza singled to start the Nationals’ eighth, took third on a one-out double by Howie Kendrick, and the Nats loaded the bases the hard way with a HBP on Michael A. Taylor’s hand. Daniel Hudson got a double play grounder out of Jose Lobaton though, ending the threat there.

Wilmer Difo hit a fly to left that Pirates’ right fielder Jose Osuna misplayed completely, leading to another run, and the Bucs botched a grounder to first by Alejandro De Aza, 11-8.

• Ballgame. Final Score: 11-8 Pirates. Thanks for following, those who are still with us. See you in the postseason.

NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:

  • Washington dropped last night’s game, leaving them 46-39 in the all-time series with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • The Nationals and Pirates have split the first six games of their season series with the Bucs, winning two of three in D.C. this weekend after the Nats took two of three in PNC Park earlier this season.
  • Pittsburgh has won five of their last seven games and six of their last nine, though they are 7-15 in their last 22 games heading into today’s regular season finale.
  • With a win today, Washington will tie the franchise record for wins in a season set by the 2012 Nationals (98).
  • Pirates’ outfielder Starling Marte started the regular season finale with an 11-game hit streak, over which he is 18 for 40 (.450 AVG), and extened it to 12-straight with a single in the second.
  • Gio Gonzalez took the mound today with a 2.75 ERA on the season, good for the fourth-lowest ERA in the NL, behind only Stephen Strasburg (2.52), Max Scherzer (2.51) and Clayton Kershaw (2.31).
  • According to Elias, this will be the first time three teammates finished in the top four in ERA in their league since the Chicago White Sox had Joe Horlen (1st, 2.06 ERA), Gary Peters (2nd, 2.28) and Tommy John (4th, 2.48) finish in the top four in the AL in 1967).
  • Gonzalez takes the mound today (4-0) with a 3.09 ERA in eight career starts against the Pirates, with the A’s and Nationals 7-1 in his eight starts against Pittsburgh.

Nationals finish regular season 97-65