Stephen Strasburg started the seventh inning at 95 pitches, and Washington Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker was hoping to get the right-hander through the inning.
A leadoff double and a walk put two on and pushed Strasburg up to 108 pitches total, so Baker went to the pen for Matt Albers, who gave up a base-loading single.
Albers got a potential double play grounder out of pinch hitter Jose Osuna, but Ryan Zimmerman threw wide of second after fielding the roller and two runs scored to get the Pittsburgh Pirates within three, at 6-3.
Oliver Perez took over and gave up a run on a chopper up the middle by Adam Frazier that made it a 6-4 game.
Blake Treinen came on with runners on first and second and got a double play out of Josh Harrison with his first pitch, then struck Andrew McCutchen out to record three outs on six pitches, limit the damage and preserve the Nationals’ lead.
Enny Romero retired the Pirates in order in a 17-pitch, 1-2-3 eighth, and with the Nats up 8-4 after Bryce Harper homered in the Nationals’ half of the ninth, Koda Glover got through the bottom of the inning, stranding two after giving up a two-out single and double.
“That’s what Blake was known for and Enny got — first Blake got us out of a tough jam and then Enny had a clean eighth and that was big,” Dusty Baker said after the win.
His bullpen came through last night, but after a season’s worth of struggles so far, Baker said he knows that nothing is settled just yet.
“We’re still in the process of trying to figure it out and get it together,” he said, “but in the meantime, our offense is doing the job.”
Treinen’s inning was just his third scoreless appearance in his last nine, but his manager and teammates noticed his contribution.
“I think that’s just why he’s so important to our bullpen,” Strasburg said. “Get him out there and he can throw one pitch and get two outs, so that really can kill rallies.”
MASN’s Dan Kolko asked Harper if he thought that sort of appearance could boost Treinen’s confidence.
“He should have all the confidence in the world, he throws 98 and has that sinker and that [slider],” Harper said.
“That was huge for him tonight, definitely happy for him to get that double play and get out of that inning, big inning to get out of, and some good hitters right there that he got out, so definitely boost the confidence and what a great outing by him.”
Glover started warming up for a save opportunity, but Baker sent him out even after Harper’s home run gave the Nationals a four-run lead. He was asked if Glover’s shown him enough to earn save opportunities.
“Well, we gave it to him tonight, and we’ll see,” Baker explained.
“Usually he throws strikes and he throws quality strikes and he wants a shot at that, but he threw a lot of pitches in that inning.
“We want him to cut his pitch count down so he can go the next day and the next day.”