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Washington Nationals blow lead in 9th, drop 4-1 decision to Pittsburgh Pirates: Brandon Kintzler can’t get elusive 30th save...

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Brandon Kintzler came on in the ninth with a 1-0 lead and gave up four runs in what ended up a 4-1 loss to the Pirates in Nationals Park.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Washington Nationals Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Max Scherzer left tonight’s start after just 3 13 innings pitched with an apparent injury though what exactly he tweaked is unclear. Expert lip reader FP Santangelo speculated on the MASN broadcast that he thought he saw Scherzer mouth the word “hamstring” in a meeting with the trainer, pitching coach Mike Maddux and manager Dusty Baker at the mound, but there is no official word as of now...

Meanwhile, the Washington Nationals, who jumped out to a 1-0 lead early in the third of four with the Pittsburgh Pirates on an RBI single by Ryan Zimmerman in the second, held on to that one-run lead through seven innings against Jameson Taillon, who put together a solid start.

A.J. Cole tossed 3 23 scoreless after taking over for Scherzer, preserving the lead before handing it off to Enny Romero, who tossed a scoreless eighth.

Brandon Kintzler took over in the ninth looking for save No. 30 on the season, but gave up three singles and a run as the Pirates rallied to tie it at 1-1. Max Moroff followed up on the game-tying hit with a base-clearing triple that made it a 4-1 game. That’s how it ended.

Nationals now 97-64

HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:

Daniel Murphy connected for the Nationals’ first hit off Pirates’ starter Jameson Taillon in the first at bat of the second, lining a 3-2 curve to right field, took second base on a passed ball/swinging strike with Ryan Zimmerman at the plate, and scored on a single to center by Zimmerman, 1-0.

Max Scherzer was cruising along, limiting the Pirates to one hit through 3 13 innings, before he tweaked something on his 54th pitch of the game. Scherzer tried to stretch on the mound, but the infield came in for a talk with the right-hander and after Daniel Murphy motioned to the dugout the Nationals’ trainer, Paul Lessard, pitching coach, Mike Maddux, and skipper Dusty Baker came out to the hill and Scherzer was removed after a brief discussion.

• Max Scherzer’s Line: 3.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 54 P, 38 S, 1/3 GO/FO.

A.J. Cole took over on the mound for the Nationals, and worked around a walk in 1 13 scoreless, keeping it a 1-0 game in the Nats’ favor through five and a half.

Jameson Taillon wasn’t giving up much either, limiting the Nationals to just the one run on four hits through seven innings.

• A.J. Cole’s Line: 3.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks, 58 P, 35 S, 6/0 GO/FO.

• Jameson Taillon’s Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 92 P, 62 S, 5/4 GO/FO.

Enny Romero took over on the mound in the eighth and worked around a one-out walk in a scoreless 19-pitch frame.

Brandon Kintzler took over with a 1-0 lead in the ninth and gave up leadoff and one-out singles by Starling Marte and Jordan Luplow, respectively. Kintzler got to two outs and two strikes against Sean Rodriguez, but gave up a game-tying RBI single to left, 1-1. Max Moroff followed with a three-run triple to left field that made it a 4-1 game.

Former Nats’ reliever Felipe Rivero came on for the Pirates in the bottom of the ninth and retired the Nationals in order. Ballgame. Final Score: 4-1 Pirates

NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:

  • With back-to-back wins, the Washington Nationals own a 46-38 record in their all-time series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and they’ve won three of five with the Bucs in 2017.
  • The Pirates started the night having won four of their last six games and five of their last eight, and Pittsburgh has gone 6-15 in their last 21 games.
  • Ryan Zimmerman became just the third player in the majors to go 4 for 4 or better with at least four extra-base hits and RBIs in a game this season.
  • With one more win this weekend, Washington will match the franchise record for wins in a season (98), set by the 2012 Nationals.
  • Max Scherzer starts the night with a 2.55 ERA, the third-lowest in the NL this season, behind only Stephen Strasburg (2.52) and the DodgersClayton Kershaw (2.21).
  • Scherzer started the night with 263 Ks, the most in the NL.
  • Scherzer also started the night with a four-start unbeaten streak against the Pirates, which stretched back to 2012, over which he has a 2.16 ERA in 29 IP.
  • Jameson Taillon started the night 3-5 with a 6.47 ERA in 13 starts and 64 IP since the All-Star Break.

Nationals now 97-64