With three home runs in the first two innings tonight, and 11 runs on the board after four, the Washington Nationals jumped out to a big lead on the Pittsburgh Pirates, and ran way with a 13-0 win in the series opener in PNC Park.
Unfortunately for the Nats, starter Joe Ross left the game after he took a comebacker off of his right shin in the fourth, but the bullpen held the Bucs off the board, with Javy Guerra 10 for 10 in retired batters over 3 2⁄3 scoreless, Kyle McGowin throwing a scoreless eighth, and Tanner Rainey finishing it up with a scoreless ninth to complete the shutout.
Ross vs the Bucs: Joe Ross took the mound in PNC Park with a three-start winning streak going, over which he had a 0.50 ERA (1 ER in 18 IP), with nine walks, 11 strikeouts, and a .150/.261/.200 line against.
His manager said he liked what he’d seen from the 26-year-old right-hander in his recent outings, in his first full year back from Tommy John surgery, after Ross struggled while he worked in relief over the first few months of the season.
“He feels good, now he feels confident, now he’s throwing up 90-100 pitches plus, so you’re seeing Joe come back and be that pitcher that he was before he got hurt,” Davey Martinez told reporters last week, “and it’s really nice.”
Ross took the mound with a 4-0 lead over the Pirates, and after retiring three straight, he came back out with the Nationals up 8-0 and set the side down in order again.
He retired eight straight to start the game before the opposing (relief) pitcher singled with two down in the third, but he stranded the first runner to reach base in a 17-pitch frame to complete three scoreless on 47 pitches.
Ross gave up a leadoff double in the bottom of the fourth, and with one down, Josh Bell hit a one-hopper back to the mound and off the pitcher’s right shin.
After a consultation with trainer Paul Lessard and manager Davey Martinez, Ross left the game…
Joe Ross’s Line: 3.1 IP, 3 H 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks, 58 P, 38 S, 4/2 GO/FO.
Williams vs the Nats: Pirates’ righty Trevor Williams gave up four hits, three walks, and two earned runs in 6 1⁄3 IP in a 6-3 win when he faced the Nationals in the nation’s capital at the start of the season (April 12th), and going into tonight’s series opener in PNC Park, the 27-year-old starter was (5-5) overall on the season with a 5.25 ERA, 29 walks, 80 strikeouts, and a .283/.333/.501 line against in 104 2⁄3 IP.
Eight pitches in Williams and the Pirates were trailing 1-0 after Adam Eaton hit a 1-0 sinker out to right field for his 11th of the season (and the Nationals’ 9th HR in the last two games).
Trea Turner hit a three-run home run off Williams in the second, taking a first-pitch slider for a ride to left after Yan Gomes walked to start the inning and moved up on an error on a sac bunt by pitcher Joe Ross, 7-0. No. 13 for Turner.
Williams was up to 61 pitches with two out in the second after he walked Asdrúbal Cabrera to put two runners on, and Matt Adams drove in one before Cabrera was thrown out at the plate to end the inning, 8-0.
Trevor Williams’ Line: 2.0 IP, 6 H, 8 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 3 HRs, 64 P, 35 S, 3/1 GO/FO.
Dinger Count: After tying a franchise record with eight home runs in yesterday’s 16-8 win in the series finale with the Brewers, the Nationals hit three more in the first two innings of the opener with the Pirates tonight, with Adam Eaton, Matt Adams, and Trea Turner hitting long balls off right-hander Trevor Williams.
Eaton’s blast, which was his 11th of 2019, gave the Nats nine players with at least 11 HRs on the season, led by Anthony Rendon (28), Juan Soto (27), Matt Adams (20), Brian Dozier (19), Victor Robles (16), Kurt Suzuki (13), Howie Kendrick (13), and Trea Turner (12).
Turn-On: Trea Turner’s leadoff single in the first on Sunday afternoon gave him a 25-game on-base streak, over which the Nationals’ 26-year-old shortstop had gone 35 for 106, for a .330/.405/.528 line, with four doubles, a triple, five home runs, and 13 walks in 121 PAs over that stretch. Turner hit his 6th home run in the last 26 games in the top of the second in the series opener in the Steel City, sending a three-run blast out to left to extend his on-base streak.
Adam Eaton walked to start DuRapau’s second inning of work in the fourth, and took third on a double to center by Juan Soto, and both runners scored on a double off the left field fence by Asdrúbal Cabrera, 10-0. Cabrera scored on an RBI double by Matt Adams in the next at bat, 11-0.
Chris Stratton came on for the Pirates in the top of the fifth and worked around a leadoff single for a scoreless frame.
Guerra tossed a scoreless bottom of the fifth, and after Pirates’ righty Kyle Crick worked around a leadoff single by Juan Soto (3 for 3, BB) in the top of the sixth, the Nats’ righty returned to the mound with a 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth, completing 2 2⁄3 scoreless after taking over on the mound.
Keone Kela retired the Nationals in order in the top of the seventh.
Guerra was up to 3 2⁄3 scoreless after a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh inning, retiring all 10 batters he faced.
Kyle McGowin got the bottom of the eighth for the Nationals, working around a two-out walk for a scoreless frame.
Juan Soto (4 for 4, BB) doubled and scored on a two-run shot to left by Asdrúbal Cabrera, who took Francisco Liriano deep to make it 13-0 Nats.
Tanner Rainey gave up a one-out walk and single in the bottom of the ninth, but stranded both runners to complete the combined shutout. Ballgame.
Nationals now 68-56
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