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Washington Nationals blow lead in 8th, lose to Pittsburgh Pirates 4-1 in PNC Park...

Stephen Strasburg tossed seven scoreless before handing a 1-0 lead over to the Nationals’ bullpen, and things quickly went all pear-shaped in PNC Park.

Washington Nationals v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Adam Eaton scored on an RBI double by Anthony Rendon after a hit-by-pitch put the right fielder on base in the top of the fifth, and Stephen Strasburg tossed seven scoreless on 94 pitches to keep it a 1-0 game in the Washington Nationals’ favor, but the Pittsburgh Pirates tied it up with a bases-loaded sac fly in the eighth and went up 4-1 on a 3-run home run by Starling Marte.

Strasburg vs the Pirates: In his last three starts before tonight’s, Stephen Strasburg put up an 8.31 ERA, seven walks, 17 Ks, and a .274/.338/.575 line against in 17 13 IP, though that run in August followed a post-All-Star Break stretch in July in which the 31-year-old right-hander was (5-0) in five starts, with a 1.14 ERA, seven walks, 44 Ks, and a .190/.254/.259 line against in 31 23 IP.

After a quick, 10-pitch, 1-2-3 first, Strasburg gave up back-to-back singles in the first two at bats of the second, but dialed up a 5-4-3 DP and a groundout to third in a nine-pitch frame in the second inning of the second game of four in PNC Park this week.

Strasburg was up to eight-straight Pirates set down and 46 pitches after a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the fourth, and he worked around a leadoff single and wild pitch in a 19-pitch fifth.

Adam Frazier singled off Strasburg with one out in the bottom of the sixth, but he was taken off the basepaths on a force at second in the next at bat, and another force at second base ended an 11-pitch frame that left the Nats’ starter at 76 pitches total after six scoreless in the Pirates’ home.

Strasburg issued his first walk of the game to José Osuna with two out in the Pirates’ half of the seventh, on his 93rd pitch on the night, but a groundout to second base ended an 18-pitch frame which left him at 94 pitches total.

Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 94 P, 60 S, 9/3 GO/FO.

Archer vs the Nationals: Heading into tonight’s outing, Pirates’ right-hander Chris Archer was winless in his previous 12 starts (0-4) with Pittsburgh 4-8 in his outings, over which the 30-year-old starter had a 5.26 ERA, 27 walks, 88 Ks, and a .248/.326/.468 line against in 65 IP.

Archer tossed a scoreless frame against the Nationals, working his way out a first-and-third, one-out jam after giving up back-to-back singles by Adam Eaton and Anthony Rendon, but after he felt something in his shoulder warming up for the second, the starter left the game following a visit to the mound from the Pirates’ trainer.

Turn-On: Trea Turner extended his on-base streak to 26-straight games with a home run in his first at bat in last night’s series opener in PNC Park, and his 2 for 4 game left him 37 for 110 in those 26 games (.336/.408/.555) with four doubles, a triple, six homers, and a total of 13 walks in 125 plate appearances over that stretch.

The Nationals’ 26-year-old shortstop extended the streak with a one-out single in the top of the fifth inning tonight, but he got caught trying to steal second base in the next at bat.

BULLPEN ACTION: Clay Holmes took over for the Pirates after Archer’s early exit, and he worked around a two-out walk in an 18-pitch top of the second.

Adam Eaton walked with one out in the third, but Holmes picked him off, and he stranded Anthony Rendon (who walked more than he K’d in college) after a two-out free pass to the Nationals’ third baseman in a scoreless third.

Holmes worked around his fourth walk in a scoreless top of the fourth, and was lifted after a two-out hit-by-pitch in the top of the fifth inning.

Michael Feliz took over with Eaton on first and two out after the HBP, and gave up an RBI double to center field by Anthony Rendon that put the Nationals up 1-0. Double No. 34 of 2019 for Rendon.

Feliz stranded a leadoff walk in a scoreless top of the sixth to keep it a one-run game.

Richard Rodríguez retired the Nationals in order in the top of the seventh inning.

Anthony Rendon singled off Rodríguez to lead off the top of the eighth with the Nationals’ fifth hit of the night, and his third (3 for 3), but he was still on first two outs later when left-hander Felipe Vázquez took over on the mound and struck Matt Adams out to keep it 1-0.

Wander Suero gave up a leadoff single by Jacob Stallings after taking over for the Nationals in the bottom of the eighth inning, and a passed ball moved pinch runner Steven Brault up to second base with no one out.

Adam Frazier bunted by the mound, between a charging Suero and Matt Adams, loading the bases with a perfect bunt.

Daniel Hudson came on to face Bryan Reynolds with the bases loaded, and gave up a game-tying sac fly to center, 1-1, and a three-run blast by Starling Marte, 4-1. Marte’s blast was the first off Hudson since May 24th.

Vazquez came back out for the top of the ninth with a three-run lead, and gave up a leadoff single to left by Kurt Suzuki, but Victor Robles grounded into a 6-4-3 DP. Pinch hitter Howie Kendrick stepped in with two out and sent a fly to the wall in center where Marte made one heck of a leaping grab to end the game. The Starling Marte Show, folks. 4-1 Pirates.

Nationals now 68-57